West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav were among politicians who welcomed the tie-up between the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, the two parties announced an alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Both parties will contest from 38 constituencies each, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said. However, she said the Congress has been left out of the alliance.
“I welcome the alliance of the SP and the BSP for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections,” Banerjee said in a tweet.
Tejashwi Yadav, meanwhile, claimed: “The defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party has begun from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,”according to ANI.
The Congress, however, said all political parties need to unite against the BJP. “Today there is a need of alliances in the entire country,” Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath said. “BJP got only 31% vote in 2014 and claimed it was people’s mandate, this happened due to split in votes.”
Former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram expressed hope that the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party will rethink their decision to exclude the Congress, ANI reported. “Maybe this isn’t the last word,” he told reporters. “[Maybe] a truly broad-based alliance will be formed in Uttar Pradesh.” However, Chidambaram asserted that the Congress will contest the polls on its own if necessary.
On Friday, the Congress had claimed that it would be a “very dangerous mistake” to ignore it in Uttar Pradesh. “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,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said. “We may have fallen on difficult times. But I think to ignore us can prove to be a very dangerous mistake.”
Congress President Rahul Gandhi had remarked earlier in the week that the Congress has the ability to surprise people in Uttar Pradesh.
BJP ridicules alliance
The BJP on Saturday claimed that the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were trying to “save their political ground”. “These parties have blamed each other of murder in the past,” BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said. “Anyway, its their choice. We are confident. Even if all parties come together, we will still win.”
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the alliance was not made for the country’s sake, the Hindustan Times reported. “They know they cannot fight Modi on their own and their opposition to him is the sole base of their alliance,” he said. Prasad claimed that the two parties will not have any impact on the outcome of the elections, because “elections are not about mathematics but chemistry”.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, also a BJP leader, claimed the alliance stands for “corruption, anarchy and political instability”, PTI reported. “This is a coalition of a casteist, corrupt and opportunistic mindset that doesn’t want development and good governance,” he added. “Public knows everything and this unholy alliance will be given a perfect answer.”
Adityanath claimed the BJP will perform even better in the 2019 elections that it did in 2014, when it won 282 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha. “Ask any impartial person – a rural woman, a solider, a farmer or youth – they will all say ‘Kaho Dil Se Modi Phir Se’ [I say wholeheartedly that Modi should return],” he added.