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Mahagathbandhan of opposition parties will be formed for Lok Sabha elections: Akhilesh Yadav

Opposition parties are trying to pull together a grand alliance of regional parties and even Left groups to mount a joint campaign against Modi. Their efforts, however, have been hampered because of ideological differences and leadership.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2018 15:58 IST
Mahagathbandhan,opposition,Lok Sabha elections
Akhilesh Yadav at the sixth edition of the Samajwadi Party’s scheme to distribute laptops to meritorious students, in Lucknow on Monday.(PTI)

The Samajwadi Party’s national president Akhilesh Yadav said on Monday that a ‘mahagathbandhan’ of opposition parties will be formed for the Lok Sabha elections scheduled to be held next year, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised their attempt at a grand alliance as “political adventurism” that was bound to fail.

“We are pasting their (Bharatiya Janata Party’s) 2014 alliance formula on them for 2019,” Akhilesh said when asked about the formula for the grand alliance.

“Congress also wants to defeat the BJP. While they will defeat the BJP in Delhi, we will do so in Uttar Pradesh,” he replied to a question whether Congress would find a place in the alliance in the northern state.

The opposition parties are trying to pull together a grand alliance of regional parties and even Left groups to mount a joint campaign against Modi. They have in recent months tried to pin down the government on a range of issues but their effort to form an alliance for the elections has been hampered because of ideological differences and leadership.

Referring to the two-day state executive of the BJP in Meerut where the saffron party’s top leaders set a target of 73-plus seats from UP in Lok Sabha polls, Akhilesh said, “They should say 70-plus because they have already lost three seats at our hands. They are already distressed over the alliance (SP, BSP, RLD and others) in the state.”

The BJP had won 71 seats in UP and its ally Apna Dal won two seats in the Lok Sabha elections held in 2014. However, it lost three seats — Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana — in the by-elections held earlier this year.

The saffron party won 282 seats in the last general election, giving it a simple majority in the lower house of Parliament. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 336 seats out of 543.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi aggressively critiqued the proposed unified front of opposition parties in an interview to the Hindustan Times. He said it will not succeed in creating a ‘gathbandhan’ of the electorate as it will not compromise its vote for such incongruent groups.

“A non-ideological alliance of desperate and disparate groups is not a ‘mahagathbandhan’ but political adventurism. It is a failed idea which never succeeded in past. History tells us that such adventurism failed in the past and will never succeed in the future. The people want a strong and a decisive government that is sensitive to their interests and gives them results,” the Prime Minister said in the email interview.

His comments came after the opposition parties failed to get their act together in the election for the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman’s post and the candidate of the ruling National Democratic Alliance won easily on Thursday. Similarly, a no-trust motion they moved against the government on July 20 was soundly defeated in the Lok Sabha.

Akhilesh made these statements on the sidelines of the sixth edition of his party’s scheme to distribute laptops to meritorious students. The party has been carrying out a district-wise distribution of laptops and on Monday, 19 toppers from Class 10 and Class 12 board examinations were given laptops.

Akhilesh also gave a second laptop to Anurag Bhaskar, a student of Ram Manohar Lohia Law University, who has made it to Harvard University. He was one of the 18 lakh beneficiaries of the SP government’s free laptop distribution scheme.

First Published: Aug 13, 2018 15:58 IST