Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday formally sealed their parties’ alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh. Of the total 80 parliamentary seats in the state, the two parties will be contesting on 38 seats each. While the pact, sans the Congress, stands formalized, the humiliation meted out to her by the SP in the infamous State Guest House incident of June 2, 1995, has clearly not been forgotten by the BSP chief. She made a mention of the same twice but said she had decided to rise above it in the interest and welfare of the country.

While the two parties will contest on 76 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, two seats (Rae Bareli and Amethi) have been left for the Congress and two seats for the other alliance partners.

Hailing the pact Akhilesh Yadav said together the two parties will expose the nefarious designs of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He called upon the Samajwadi Party workers to avoid any criticism of the BSP president. Akhilesh said that any insult to “Mayawatiji” by the SP workers would be taken as a personal insult to him.

The BSP-SP pact has come after 25 years of the poll arrangement worked out by Mulayam Singh Yadav and  Kanshi Ram. Even as she clinched a deal with Mulayam’s son, Mayawati did not forget to mention her mentor (Kanshi Ram), who had played an important role in the 1993 BSP-SP pact.

Addressing a joint press conference, the two leaders hit out at the BJP for dividing the country on communal and casteist lines and for heaping economic and social woes on the people. Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah as `Guru-Chela,’ the BSP president said the two will lose sleep (“dono ki neend udne wali hai”) following the alliance which is both important and historical. The pact will bring a new political revolution.

It was aimed at alleviating the plight of the poor and the downtrodden, Dalits, women, farmers, and the deprived sections of society. Mayawati said people have a lot of expectations from the alliance. It was not so important that the two parties came together. What merited attention and importance was the upliftment of the deprived sections.

The BSP president said the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the 2017 UP Vidhan Sabha polls saw the BJP forming a government through `beimani’ (fraudulent means). The people remained unhappy. To end their unhappiness the BSP-SP struck an alliance for the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha b- polls in UP. The beginning had been made then. The alliance defeated the BJP candidates then and will do so again in the Lok Sabha elections.

Stating the reasons why the Congress had been kept out of the alliance, Mayawati said she had entered into a pact with the party on an earlier occasion, but while her votes stood transferred the same was not true of the Congress. Since independence, the Congress had been in power at the Centre and in most of the states. Poverty, scams, and corruption were the order of the day then. In 1975, the party imposed Emergency.

Likening the BJP to the Congress she said a kind of undeclared emergency was in force during the current NDA dispensation. Government machinery was being used to rake up old cases. She said no sooner did the BJP come to know about the BSP-SP alliance that CBI raids on alleged illegal mining were carried out in UP.

Mayawati made a special mention of Akhilesh’s estranged uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav and his newly formed Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia). She warned the alliance workers to be on guard against his and other similar outfits.

Akhilesh Yadav said the five years of the BJP rule had brought untold misery to the people who have been subjected to untold atrocities. The people of UP now stood divided on caste and communal lines. So much so that the BJP has now divided even the Gods on caste lines. The alliance was aimed at putting an end to these atrocities.

The SP president said he had earlier also said that he was willing to take two steps backwards to put an end to the disruptive designs of the BJP. The historic alliance was a step in the direction.

In response to a query on whether he would like to see Mayawati as the prime minister, Akhilesh evaded a direct response. He said it is well-known “who his choice for the prime minister is.”