The Samajwadi Party on Tuesday announced an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party in Maharashtra for the Lok Sabha elections. The two parties will contest all 48 seats in the state, PTI reported.

“Secularism is about to end in the country,” Samajwadi Party Maharashtra chief Abu Asim Azmi claimed. “Those who call themselves chowkidars can go to any length, and peddle lies, to cling on to power.”

Azmi asserted that the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance is capable of restricting the Bharatiya Janata Party to five to seven seats in the state.

Azmi claimed the Congress, the main Opposition party in Maharashtra, has made the Muslims, Dalits and other backward classes helpless. “However, after our decision to contest all 48 seats, a third front will be available,” he said. “We represent 85% to 90% of society.”

Azmi said the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have not yet discussed seat-sharing in Maharashtra. He added that no other party has approached the two to be included in the alliance.

Bahujan Samaj Party MP Ashok Siddharth claimed that the Congress’ programmes for Dalits, Muslims and backward classes have “remained on paper”. The alliance will ensure that these initiatives reach the common man, he added. Siddharth said Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati will hold a rally in Nagpur on April 5, and said the party requests Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav to attend it.

The BJP and the Shiv Sena announced an alliance in February. The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party are also in an alliance. The Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal have tied up in Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats.

The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results declared on May 23.