Mayawati, Akhilesh back Congress in MP and Rajasthan ‘to keep BJP out’
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP)’s support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan sparked speculation of a grand alliance of opposition parties against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) taking shape in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
At a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday, Mayawati said though she did not agree with the ideology and policies of the Congress, she decided to support the party to keep the BJP out of power. The BSP, which claims to champion the cause of Dalits, won two seats in Madhya Pradesh and six seats in Rajasthan.
“To fight for the welfare of these communities, we had to form a separate political party. If the Congress had followed the ideals of (Dalit icon Bhimrao) Ambedkar, then there would have been no need to launch a new party, nor the BJP would have got the opportunity to broaden its support base,” she said. SP president Akhilesh Yadav, too, announced support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh.
“The SP is committed to keep the BJP out of power. We have extended support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress will fulfil the promises made to the people during the election campaign,” Yadav said.
The BSP and the SP’s support will help the Congress cross the majority mark, which it is short of by two seats in Madhya Pradesh and one seat in Rajasthan.
Mayawati had snubbed the Congress during seat-sharing talks in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. She tied up with the Ajit Jogi-led Janta Congress Chattisgarh (JCC). Holding the Congress responsible for the failure of talks, she said the BSP was not offered a respectable number of seats.
Watch: BSP will support Congress in Madhya Pradesh ‘to keep BJP out’: Mayawati
Both Mayawati and Akhilesh had skipped an Opposition parties’ meeting in New Delhi Monday, convened to discuss the strategy for the Lok Sabha polls. Their absence was seen as a potential setback to opposition efforts to form a grand alliance against the BJP in the 2019 polls.
Political observer RK Gautam said the resurgence of the Congress in the three states would have an impact on Uttar Pradesh as well. If the BSP-SP work to form an alliance against the BJP, they will have to take Congress on board, he added.
SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said talks with Congress leaders will be held once discussions on seat-sharing formulae for the general election begin. A senior BSP leader said that talks are on with the SP leadership in UP for a pre-poll alliance in the Lok Sabha election.
Mayawati will chair a meeting of party leaders soon to discuss the strategy for the Lok Sabha election and the formation of a grand alliance, he said.