Opposition unity on display as RJD endorses UP alliance
Tejashwi Yadav said the alliance was the best thing that could have happened and will go down the history as big step in Indian politics.Updated: Jan 15, 2019 00:03 IST
The Centre’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will suffer huge setbacks in the key Hindi heartland states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwai Yadav said after meeting Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Monday.
The RJD vice-president, who met Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati on Sunday night and congratulated her for her alliance with the SP, said he had no doubt that the BJP will be wiped out from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar — two states that played a major role in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s landslide victory in 2014.
“The SP-BSP alliance has sent a message across the country,” Tejashwi said at a joint press conference with Akhilesh, adding that the coalition of the erstwhile rivals would go down in history as a big step in Indian politics.
Efforts are under way in the Opposition camp to stitch up state-specific alliances to take on the BJP in the general elections this summer. Further, the BJP’s losses in three key states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in December have buoyed the bloc.
In Bihar, the RJD has formed an alliance with the Congress, and erstwhile BJP allies, Hindustani Awami Morcha and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party. In UP, the BSP and the SP have joined hands, declaring they will contest 38 each. They, however, have kept the Congress, which plans to contest all 80 seats in the state, out of the fold. “Uttar Pradesh and Bihar together have 120 seats (80+40), and if you add Jharkhand’s 14 seats, that’s 134 seats that the BJP will not be able to win in the Lok Sabha elections. Together, the three states will account for at least a 100-seat loss for the BJP,” Tejashwi said.
In 2014, the BJP alone won 71 seats in UP and 22 in Bihar. In tribal-dominated Jharkhand, it won 12 seats. These three states contributed 105 of the total 282 seats that the BJP won in the general elections, forming a government at the Centre with a comfortable majority. SK Dwivedi, a political analyst and former head of the department of political science at Lucknow University, said outcomes in states was expected to have a bearing on the results of the Lok?Sabha elections. “The states might play a significant role for any party or alliance that wins or loses a majority of these 134 seats,” he said.
Lauding the SP-BSP alliance, Tejashwi reiterated that his father, Lalu Prasad, had dreamt of such a partnership. “This alliance will fight the dangers that the country is facing and will defeat the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] agenda. I congratulate Mayawatiji and Akhilesh ji on forging this alliance in the national interest,” he said.
Tejashwi also said the only reason his father, Lalu Prasad, was in jail is because “Modiji saw him as a threat”. Lalu Prasad, who is lodged in a Jharkhand prison in a corruption case, felt the need for alliances of regional parties in the wake of the BJP’s resounding victories in 2014, Tejashwi said. The RJD even allied with rival Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) for 2015’s Bihar assembly elections, and their alliance trounced the BJP. Nitish broke ties with the so-called “grand alliance” and joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in 2017.
At his press conference with Akhilesh, Tejashwi launched an attack on the BJP government, saying the atmosphere in the country was becoming vitiated.
UP BJP leader Chandramohan lashed out at what he termed an “opportunistic” alliance. “On the one hand, they say that the BJP hasn’t done anything. On the other, they are joining hands out of fear of a likely defeat. This opportunistic alliance of politicians, many of whom have corruption cases against them and generally products of dynastic politics, holds no credibility and would be exposed in 2019 LS polls, says UP BJP leader Chandramohan,” he said.
First Published: Jan 14, 2019 14:30 IST