Perhaps this isn't the last word: Chidambaram on SP-BSP alliance
New Delhi, Jan 12: On a day when the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) announced a tie-up in Uttar Pradesh for the coming Lok Sabha polls, the Congress is maintaining a cautious silence, officially. However, party leader P Chidambaram is still hopeful of a change of heart of the two major regional players in the state.
"Perhaps this (the decision to leave out the Congress) isn't the last word, maybe there will be some rethink as the elections approach. A truly broad-based alliance will be formed in Uttar Prasesh. If necessary, the Congress party will contest elections on its own strength," he was quoted by news agency ANI.
Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati announced their alliance for the 2019 general elections today, saying their parties - Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) - will contest 38 seats each. They said there was no real gain if they had included the Congress. But they are willing to leave the Amethi and Raebareli constituencies - both Congress bastions - for the Rahul Gandhi-led party.
"There is not much benefit to us from allying with the Congress. We have decided that we will not tie up with a party like the Congress across the country where they can't transfer votes to us," said Mayawati.
Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad refused to give an official response from the party, saying the stand would be made clear on Sunday.
The Congress top brass in Uttar Pradesh is in a huddle following the announcement of the alliance. Azad met Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh and former lawmaker Pramod Tiwari at his residence.
Ever since the BSP and SP indicated that they were considering to leave out the party, the Congress leadership has started preparation for a solo fight in the state. They have been meeting leaders from the western parts of the state for the past two days, news agency PTI report.
Azad said he would meet the leaders and workers of the party from central and eastern Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari also stressed on the need for state-specific alliances.
"Insofar as alliances are concerned, we have always believed that state-specific alliances, which further the progressive and pluralistic ideals, which further consolidate the liberalised idea of India, are the way forward and I think there is space for that," he said.