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Mulayam rules out tie-ups, says only mergers

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav puts an end to talk of a grand alliance

india Updated: Nov 10, 2016 17:16 IST
HT Correspondent
Samajwadi party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav addresses a press conference at the party office in Lucknow on Thursday.
Samajwadi party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav addresses a press conference at the party office in Lucknow on Thursday.(PTI Photo)

Ruling Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday put an end to the talk of a grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the 2017 assembly election, saying there would only be mergers and no tie-ups.

For the last few weeks, there has been talk of Mulayam seeking a Bihar-like alliance of socialist outfits in Uttar Pradesh to take on the BJP, which is looking to oust the Samajwadi Party to make a comeback in India’s most populous state.

“There would be no alliance. Only mergers. Political parties willing to merge their outfits with SP are welcome,” Yadav said a day after he met Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav and Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh in New Delhi. He had also met Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor.

The Samajwadi Party, which recently turned 25, is battling a damaging power struggle in the Yadav clan. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Yadav have faced off on a number of occasions. Mulayam has tried to play the peacemaker more than once but the party is increasingly looking divided.

Some party leaders wanted to repeat the Bihar grand alliance, or Mahagatbandhan, that saw Nitish Kumar return as the chief minister. His JD(U) joined hands with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress and decimated the BJP to retain power.

The SP, too, was to be part of the alliance but it walked out at the last moment, straining ties between Kumar and Mulayam. The Bihar chief minister recently set an impossible condition for a tie-up. He said the SP should join hands with archrival Bahujan Samaj Party for the alliance to materialise.