Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati may announce alliance at joint press conference

Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati are all set to address a joint press conference on Saturday, and it is widely believed to be an announcement of their alliance ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The party chiefs had given their “in principle” approval to the alliance, which has shut its doors to the Congress in the state. AS per News18 sources, both SP and BSP are planning to contest on 37 seats each out of the 80 on offer in Uttar Pradesh and plan to leave Rae Bareli and Amethi for the Congress, an offer that the grand old party is unlikely to accept.

Akhilesh’s uncle and close aide Ram Gopal Yadav also confirmed that Congress will not be a part of the coalition with his statement on being asked about the Congress’ inclusion. Smaller parties like the Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Nishad Party are also likely to be in the alliance.

“Kaalpanik baatein kyun keh rahe ho? Aisa hai, gathbandhan ka matlab aap samajhiye aur apne aap samajh lijiye baaton ko. (Why are you talking about imaginary things? Understand the meaning of alliance and what is going on here),” he told a reporter.

According to BJP’s own calculations, an SP-BSP alliance may cost the party at least 25-30 seats in the state in the general elections. The BJP and its allies had won 73 of the 80 seats in the 2014 parliamentary elections. The mahagathbandhan arithmetic had worked in the bypolls as a consolidation of OBC, Dalit and Muslim votes powered joint opposition candidates to victory in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana last year.

Akhilesh Yadav’s attempt to retain power in Uttar Pradesh by joining hands with the Congress for the 2017 state polls had flopped miserably as the BJP came to power with a huge majority.

Last year, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati decided to put aside their rivalry and pool in their resources in three by-poll contests and won all. It gave them hope that together, they can pull voters away from the BJP.

Akhilesh, in fact, had accused the Centre of a “political witch-hunt” after reports that he may face a CBI probe in a case of illegal mining. The development came the same day the SP and Mayawati-led BSP indicated their intent to join hands in Uttar Pradesh.

Mayawati had then called Akhilesh and asked him to “not be shaken by such gimmicks”, emphasising that she stood in his support. The BSP chief also alleged that like the Congress, the ruling BJP was “misusing” the government machinery to “trap” its opponents in false cases.