Business Standard

MP polls: Cong wasn't ready to take BSP in coalition with SP, says Akhilesh

The SP is contesting 51 of the total 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh Assembly Elections 2018  |  Shivraj Singh Chouhan  |  Samajwadi Party

Press Trust of India  |  Bhopal 

Madhya Pradesh
File photo of Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav (left) and Congress President Rahul Gandhi (right) | Photo: PTI

Chief on Tuesday said his party didn't accept a Congress offer for an alliance in Madhya Pradesh assembly polls because the Rahul Gandhi-led party was not ready to include the BSP in the proposed coalition.

Criticising the Congress, Yadav said its policies were responsible for the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He said that Congress would have "won" more than 200 seats out of 230 in the November 28 elections in Madhya Pradesh had it tied-up with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the (SP) and the Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP).

BSP chief Mayawati had in October announced that her party would contest Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan assembly polls alone and had accused the Congress of being "arrogant" and not being interested in fighting the BJP. It was seen as a setback for the Congress which has been trying to rally opposition forces to forge an anti-BJP front.

"The Congress doesn't give us any importance. That party was ready to allot seats to SP in However, we told them that the election is going to be a big battle and we need to include the BSP in the alliance, but the Congress was not ready. So, our alliance could not materialise," Yadav told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday after the launch of his party's poll manifesto.

The SP chief's remarks come in the backdrop of the arch-rivals SP and BSP coming together against the BJP in Uttar Pradesh bypolls earlier this year to wrest two important Lok Sabha seats -- Gorakhpur and Phulpur -- from the saffron party.

Yadav has been maintaining that an alliance with the BSP will be formed in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 MPs to Lok Sabha, to defeat the BJP in the 2019 general elections.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister hit out at the Congress for failing to form an alliance in the state and said its policies were "responsible for the rise of the BJP in the country's politics".

"The Congress would have won more than 200 seats in the November 28 elections had it tied-up with the BSP, SP and GGP. But by not forging an alliance with us, the Congress has given us an opportunity to criticise them," Yadav quipped.

The SP is contesting 51 of the total 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh. In 2013 assembly elections, the SP had drawn a blank.

Earlier in September, Mayawati had tied up with Ajit Jogi's party in Chhattisgarh where the BJP has been in power for 15 years.

Meanwhile, Yadav refused to comment on the demand for construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, saying the issue is "sub-judice".

Attacking the BJP, Yadav alleged the saffron party "takes refuge in caste, Ram temple etc. when it is cornered on issues like demonetisation, GST (Goods and Services Tax) and its poll promise to create two crore jobs".

Yadav also took a dig at the BJP over its electoral promise to provide free scooty to meritorious girl students in Madhya Pradesh. "The BJP manifesto talked about giving scooty to girls but is silent on (prices of) petrol," he said.

Yadav alleged that "40,000 farmers have committed suicide under the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh".

The BJP has been in power in the state since 2003.

"The BJP had also promised that sugarcane farmers in Uttar Pradesh would be paid well for their produce, but didn't keep that promise. The BJP is known for not keeping its promises," he alleged.

Yadav also took potshots at the BJP over its drive to develop 'smart cities' in the country.

"The BJP should tell people how many smart cities have been developed. The BJP had also promised that laptops with data cards will be provided in UP, but people are still waiting," he claimed.

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First Published: Tue, November 20 2018. 19:10 IST