Congress leaders happy to part ways.
Lucknow: Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has finally ruled out his party’s alliance with the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, citing poor outcome of the two parties’ tie-up during last year’s Assembly elections.
Addressing a party meeting here on Tuesday, Akhilesh Yadav said that there was no possibility of an alliance in the Lok Sabha elections and his priority was to strengthen the Samajwadi Party.
“Had the alliance been in force, the Congress would have contested the municipal polls with us,” he said, pointing to the poor performance of the alliance in the Assembly elections in which the BJP wrested power from the SP.
“My friendship with Rahul Gandhi remains, but it is now time to strengthen the SP. We are on good terms with Rahul Gandhi but we definitely do not have any alliance for the polls, as of now,” he told reporters.
The SP had won 21 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 but after Akhilesh Yadav became Uttar Pradesh chief minister the party’s tally came down to five seats in the 2014 parliamentary polls.
The SP-Congress alliance in the 2017 state elections had come a cropper with the SP left with 47 seats while the Congress won just seven seats in the 403-member Assembly.
The Congress, on the other hand, has been squarely blaming the alliance with SP for its worst ever performance in state elections when it almost got decimated.
Though none of the party spokespersons was ready to comment officially on the SP’s decision not dump the grand old party ahead of the 2019 polls, senior leaders said that it was a “happy development”.
“We are on a comeback trail and today’s development is a burden off our back. We can now move ahead with confidence under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership,” said a veteran leader.
Earlier, Akhilesh Yadav hinted at an early start by the SP in picking candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.