Exactly a week after the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress had formalised the alliance and on the day when its two poster-boys — Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav — were glued to each other in Lucknow from morning till late evening, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav broke his silence.
“Mein is samjhautey ke khilaaf hoon (I am against this alliance),” he told a television news agency at his New Delhi official residence hours after Rahul and Akhilesh ended their first joint public meeting at Ghanta Ghar in Lucknow.
Reading out from a scripted page in his hand, Mulayam said, “I will not go anywhere to campaign for this alliance. The Congress was so long in power, but it did not do anything for the country. I will not campaign in this elections. I will ask the cadre to speak against the alliance to the people.”
Mulayam’s declaration of refusal came within an hour of his trusted lieutenant Narad Rai joining Bahujan Samaj Party. Narad is sitting SP MLA from Ballia Sadar constituency in eastern UP. Narad was a minister in Akhilesh cabinet who had sided with the Shivpal-Mulayam camp during the six-month-long Yadav family feud for control of the party. Akhilesh had sacked him from his cabinet in October along with Shivpal and two other ministers.
Mulayam had earlier in the day, met Narad and tried to prevent him going to the Bahujan Samaj Party because Akhilesh Yadav denied him a ticket.
Referring to Narad and many other whom did not get a ticket from Akhilesh, Mulayam said: “Samajwadi Party was capable of winning the polls on its own. There was no need for the alliance,” he told the news agency.
“What will all those leaders of ours will do who did not get the ticket (because of alliance seat sharing). They have lost the opportunity for the next five years,” he said.
Before Mulayam disowned the alliance, Akhilesh and Rahul held their first joint press conference, their first roadshow (which kicked off their joint campaign for the polls), and a joint public meeting.