The Congress said that ignoring their party in Uttar Pradesh could prove to be “a very dangerous mistake”, the day before a formal announcement of the alliance between Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party is expected, PTI reported.

“I don’t think anybody should underestimate the strength, extent and reach and vote share, presence and support of the Congress in a state like Uttar Pradesh,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi. “We may have fallen on difficult times. But I think to ignore us can prove to be a very dangerous mistake.”

Party chief Rahul Gandhi had made similar remarks on Tuesday. In an interview to the Gulf News, he claimed that the Congress has the ability to surprise people in the state and to underestimate them would be a “big mistake”.

Singhvi said all opposition parties should aim to defeat the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and eliminate “autocracy and misgovernance” at the Centre. “Those who in any manner do not do it will be blamed ultimately by the public, which knows everything,” he said. “Therefore, it is an obligation on each one of the parties to do so [defeat the BJP].”

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati have called a joint press conference in Lucknow on Saturday where they are expected to formally announce their alliance. At a public meeting in Kannauj on Friday, Yadav said the prospect of their alliance has not only created fear in the BJP but also in the Congress.

Both alliance partners have reportedly decided not to field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, the seats held by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance chief Sonia Gandhi.

Reacting to BJP President Amit Shah’s remarks of winning the Lok Sabha elections, Singhvi described it as a “repetitive” boast. “These ‘jumlas’ have become so stereotyped and so repetitive that the party president speaks in almost auto-pilot and no one believes them,” he said.

At the BJP’s national council meeting on Friday, Shah had expressed confidence that the BJP would emerge victorious in the upcoming elections.