Two top Opposition leaders from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which together represent more than 22 per cent (120) of the total 543 Lok Sabha seats, on Monday asserted that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be wiped out from these states.
Addressing a joint news conference in Lucknow, Samajwadi Party (SP) President Akhilesh Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav said the BJP government at the Centre was on its way out due to the potency of the SP-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) pre-poll alliance in UP and a similar tie-up of Opposition parties in Bihar and even Jharkhand.
"BJP will be routed in UP and Bihar. The SP-BSP alliance will not only inspire confidence in the people of UP, but (also) send a strong message to the entire country. Together, UP and Bihar will decide who will rule at the Centre," Tejashwi said.
While UP and Bihar elect 80 and 40 members to the Lok Sabha, respectively, Jharkhand, which was carved out of Bihar as a separate state, has 14 constituencies. "Together, the three states have a total of 134 seats, of which BJP and allies account for about 115 seats, however, in the Lok Sabha poll, the party would lose more than 100 seats in the three states," he claimed.
Tejashwi, the younger son of RJD founder and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, has been calling the shots in the party following the incarceration of his father in the fodder scam.
He noted that the UP chief minister and his deputy could not save their respective pocket boroughs of Gorakhpur and Phulpur parliamentary constituencies in the state bypolls. He also alleged that there was an undeclared Emergency in the country and the central agencies were acting as de facto alliance partners of the ruling BJP.
He also attacked Janata Dal (United) President and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the alleged deterioration of the state law and order machinery and rampant rise in criminal incidents. The JD(U) is BJP's alliance partner in Bihar.
Last night, Tejashwi had met BSP President Mayawati at her residence and congratulated the former UP chief minister for the pre-poll alliance with SP.
On Saturday, the SP and BSP had announced their pre-poll tie-up, under which the two parties would contest 38 seats each in UP, while leaving the two seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli for Congress. The decision on the remaining two seats would be announced soon. The alliance also shut the door for Congress with Mayawati alleging that the Grand Old Party does not transfer its votes to partners.
She said the BSP-SP alliance was long-term and permanent, and that it would carry forward for the 2022 UP Assembly polls as well. "Our alliance will take away the sleep of the 'guru-chela'," she said while referring to the duo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
On Sunday, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath downplayed the alliance, saying that it was not a challenge to the BJP. "The SP-BSP alliance will have no impact in UP... actually, it is good that they have joined hands, since it would be easier to trounce them in elections," Adityanath said at a programme in Lucknow.
Taking a swipe at Akhilesh, Adityanath had said the SP chief was on a weak footing in the alliance and even if Mayawati had offered him 10 seats, Yadav would have accepted willingly. "Akhilesh knows very well that it is difficult for him to retain the Kannauj parliamentary seat (currently held by Yadav's wife Dimple) in the poll, leave aside Etawah and Mainpuri," he claimed.
Meanwhile, Akhilesh said the people would give a betting reply to the BJP in the polls.