Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has said the alliance with the Congress would continue in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, indicating his stance about the future of the political relationship for the first time after losing the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.
Akhilesh’s comments come two days after SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav blamed the alliance with the Congress for the ‘poor’ state of the party and said efforts should be made to strengthen it in Karhal, Mainpuri—a Yadav stronghold.
Blaming the alliance for the party’s defeat in the assembly elections, the senior Yadav recounted on Sunday how the grand old party left no stone unturned to ‘ruin’ his life — a point Prime Minister Narendra Modi prominently brought up during his election rallies, particularly in the Yadav belt.
“We will contest the 2019 general elections together and strongly,” Akhilesh said in Orai after attending a function in Kalpi with his wife and Lok Sabha legislator Dimple Yadav.
Party founder Mulayam lost his cool in late January when Akhilesh announced an electoral alliance with the Congress. A furious Mulayam - who was against such a partnership - said that he wouldn’t campaign for the Congress.
Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Yadav, with whom he was involved in a power tussle, also refused to campaign for the candidates contesting on a Congress ticket. Instead, he wished to canvass for SP candidates pitted against Congress nominees, signalling he was treading the similar path as Mulayam over the SP-Congress alliance.
The former chief minister on his part had been non-committal about the future of the alliance, which was cobbled days before the assembly elections. Speculations that the alliance could break were rife after Congress decided to fight upcoming civic body elections on its own.
But Akhilesh cleared the air saying it could be part of a strategy.
The SP’s defeat in the state elections was blamed on the months-long power tussle between Akhilesh and Shivpal over the control of the party ahead of the assembly polls.
The rout of Akhilesh-led SP was met with sharp criticism from Mulayam and relations between the Akhilesh camp and that led by his father and Shivpal continue to be strained.
Akhilesh’s decision to continue ties with the Congress also come at a time when Shivpal has announced the formation of the Samajwadi Secular Morcha with Mulayam as the president.