Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said his party will be rethinking the alliance with the Congress for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, accusing the party of “betrayal”.
He said had they known that the alliance does not work on a state level, they would not have been open to being part of the newly formed INDIA bloc practically stitched up by the Congress.
The Congress and SP have fielded candidates against each other on 18 seats for the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections, which has led to friction between the two national allies. This is most likely to divide the anti-BJP vote, making the opposition’s case weaker.
According to reports, Yadav said: “We spoke to the former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh (MP Congress chief Kamal Nath). We discussed our party’s performance and told them where our MLAs have previously won from…” He said the talks went on till 1 am… If I knew there is no alliance on state level, we won’t have met or spoken to the Congress… will think about alliance for the Lok Sabha polls…”
There is an overlap of candidates from the two parties in five seats. Late on Wednesday (October 18), however, the SP announced 22 candidates, of whom 13 were pitted against the Congress.
Comments by Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajai Rai made matters worse. He said the SP does not have any ground support in MP and should not contest even as the Congress is preparing to contest from all 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP, where Yadav’s party finished second in the previous assembly elections.
“The state chief has no authority. He was not there in the meeting held at Patna or Mumbai. What does he know about the INDIA alliance… These people from the Congress are involved with the BJP. If I had known that the alliance is not on the state level then I would not have sent SP leaders to Digvijaya Singh… I would not have trusted them if I had known that people from the Congress would betray us…” Yadav said, taking a dig at Rai and calling him a small-time neta.