Samajwadi Party leader Kiranmoy Nanda called the Congress an “insignificant party” a day after his party formed an alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha elections 2019.
Expressing confidence that the two parties are strong enough to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nanda said, “In Uttar Pradesh, the Congress is an insignificant force, so we are not even thinking of including or excluding it. The SP-BSP alliance is the main force which will take on the BJP.”
Nanda, who is the national vice-president of SP, also said that the grand old party might be there in “one or two seats”.
He added that the SP-BSP alliance faced no problem in defeating the BJP in places where the Congress fielded candidates against the alliance.
According to reports, the SP-BSP alliance will not contest in Rae Bareli and Amethi constituencies – both of which are Congress bastions.
While Rae Bareli is represented by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha, Amethi is the parliamentary seat of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Reports had on Saturday said that the two powerful arch rivals of the Hindi heartland have inked a pact to take on the BJP.
But expressing confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity, Uttar Pradesh deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said on Sunday that the alliance is not going to affect his party.
“Whether SP-BSP ally or not, we have nothing to say on it nor will we be affected. Country is firmly with Modi ji and people want to see him as the PM again,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
The news of the alliance came a day after SP president Akhilesh Yadav met BSP president Mayawati in New Delhi.
Sources said the modalities for seat-sharing in Uttar Pradesh were discussed during the meet. A broad consensus emerged wherein it was decided that both parties will contest on an equal number of seats.
Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha seats including Amethi and Rae Bareli. Both the SP and the BSP are expected to put up candidates on 37 seats each bringing the total number to 74.
Of the remaining four seats, the BSP president is reported to have insisted that she gets two more bringing her seat tally to 39. Any other alliance partner, such as Chaudhary Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal, will be accommodated on the remaining two or from those which fall in the lot of the SP, sources said.
It is expected that Mayawati may make an announcement to this effect on 10 January ahead of her birthday which falls on 15 January.