Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav practically put the Congress on notice today, accusing them of “fooling” other parties and hinting that had they known the alliance doesn’t work on state level, they would not have been so open to the INDIA bloc. “Will think about alliance for the Lok Sabha polls,” said the leader, whose party has so far been on board with the united opposition idea.
The Congress and Samajwadi Party — allies at the national level — have ended up fielding candidates against each other on 18 seats on Madhya Pradesh. The development is expected to divide the anti-BJP votes and play into the hands of the state’s ruling party in the coming assembly election.
“We spoke to ex-chief minister of Madhya Pradesh (Kamal Nath, who now heads the party’s state unit),” Mr Yadav told reporters. They discussed the party’s performance. “We told them where our MLAs have previously won… told them where we have been on number 2 earlier,” Mr Yadav said.
The discussion, he added, went on till 1 am.
“They assured us that they will think about us for six seats. When they announced candidates there was nothing for SP. If I knew there is no alliance on state, then we wouldn’t have met. We wouldn’t have spoken to Congress,” he added.
The Congress had released the first list of 144 candidates on the first day of Navratri. Eight hours later, the Samajwadi Party released the names of its nine candidates, where there was an overlap on five seats. Last evening, the SP announced another 22 candidates, of whom 13 were pitted against the Congress from various seats.
The matter worsened after the party’s Uttar Pradesh chief Ajai Rai made some strong comments. The SP, he had said, does not have any ground support in Madhya Pradesh and should not contest elections there. Also, the Congress is preparing to contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, he added.
It had left Mr Yadav — a former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh — fuming. “I want to tell Congress that their chirkut neta (small-time leaders) should not speak about SP… These Congress people are with the BJP… Had I known that there is no alliance on state level, I would not have send SP leaders to Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh,” Mr Yadav added.
Yesterday, Kamal Nath said talks are still on with the SP regarding the state-level alliance. There were also “practical glitches”, he said. “Our candidates aren’t ready to fight on the SP poll symbol, even if the SP says it is ready to field our candidates on its symbol. In such a situation, what shall we do? These are practical aspects on the ground,” he said.
On the other hand, the party was on the same page with Akhilesh Yadav on the need to beat the BJP at the hustings, he said.
“We want the SP to help us defeat the BJP. I thank Akhilesh Yadav, as he aims to defeat the BJP. He told this to me personally,” he said.
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