BSP supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav will jointly announce an alliance on Saturday between both parties for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. A joint press conference has been called by both leaders in Lucknow at noon on January 12 at Lucknow’s Taj hotel where the announcement will be made.
Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have been in talks for weeks and last week, their meeting in Delhi raised a lot of talk over reports that the two former chief ministers had decided on a “mahagatbandhan” or grand coalition leaving the Congress out of the equation.
Over the week, the two leaders also put out press statements that specifically referred to the word “gathbandhan”. Mayawati’s press statement was in solidarity with Akhilesh Yadav amid reports that the CBI may question him on investigations into a mining scam that allegedly took place when he was chief minister. “Don’t be shaken,” she advised.
Akhilesh Yadav returned the favour when he put out a press release to condemn Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks at a rally in Agra on Mayawati “forgetting” an attack on her by Samajwadi party workers in 1995 for “political gains”. “PM Modi is scared of the alliance,” said Akhilesh Yadav.
Both the parties also came together outside Parliament on Monday to slam the government for trying to “frame” Akhilesh in the mining case. Inside Parliament, too, the former UP rivals brought the Opposition together on the issue despite the Congress insisting on attacking the government over the Rafale fighter deal.
Of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in UP, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal won 73 in 2014. The SP won five, and the Congress two.