Tremendous respect for Akhilesh, Mayawati: Rahul Gandhi on SP-BSP tie-up

His reaction came hours after the Akhilesh and Mayawati announced that the Congress will not be part of their alliance for the upcoming general election.

New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said he has tremendous respect for Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati. Gandhi said the two parties from Uttar Pradesh have taken a political decision of forming a pre-poll alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and that they are free to do so.

His reaction came hours after the Akhilesh and Mayawati announced that the Congress will not be part of their alliance for the upcoming general election.

“They have taken a decision in Uttar Pradesh, and we will have to take our own decision too. The Congress has lots to offer to the people of Uttar Pradesh. I have tremendous respect for the leaders of the BSP and Samajwadi Party, and recognise that they have the right to do what they want. It’s on us to strengthen the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh, and we will fight to our full capacity,” he said at a media conference in Dubai. 

“The Congress is efficiently forming political alliances in other states. I won’t be disappointed about the BSP-Samajwadi Party alliance as long as the BJP does not come to power,” Gandhi said. “In a way, they have said some wrong things about the Congress, but we accept it. Because that’s how we work.”

Earlier in the day, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati addressed a press conference in Lucknow and said each of their parties will be contesting from 38 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. They have left four seats for the Congress and others.

SP and BSP will not field candidates fromm Amethi and Raebareli, seats that are represented by Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, respectively.

While announcing the decision to join hands with her one-time arch rival SP, Mayawati attacked Congress for its failed policies and misgovernance.She said SP and BSP have decided to leave Congress out of the alliance because during Congress’s rule in the past, poverty, unemployment and corruption grew and there were wrongdoings in defence deals.

She said their (SP and BSP) experience with joining hands with Congress suggests that it has hardly ever benefited them. She said the Congress has not been able to transfer votes to the SP and BSP in the past.

“In the past I have seen that our votes get transferred to the Congress, but not vice-versa. We do not gain from an alliance with the Congress, whereas the vote transfer is perfect in an SP-BSP tie-up,” Mayawati said.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Varanasi, senior Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram said he hopes that the SP-BSP alliance is not the last word. “Perhaps this isn’t the last word. Maybe there will be some rethinking as the [Lok Sabha] elections approach,” he said.

In 2014, the BJP had won 71 seats in Uttar Pradesh, which sends the largest number of MPs to the Lok Sabha. BJP ally Apna Dal bagged two. The SP won five seats and the Congress two, while the BSP drew a blank.

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