A formal announcement on 'gathbandhan' between SP and BSP in Uttar Pradesh is likely later this month.
Lucknow: A series of meetings have transpired between Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, to have discussions about partnering up and talk about seat sharing in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections and leaving Congress out of the gang.
A formal announcement on the “gathbandhan” between the two key parties in Uttar Pradesh is likely later this month, SP's national spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said.
Chaudhary said Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati had given their in-principle approval for an alliance after the series of meetings. The two leaders also met on Friday, to further discuss matters.
"Talks are going on to accommodate some smaller parties in the alliance," he said. He admitted that the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which has a presence in western UP, is among these parties.
To the formation of new alliance, Congress said that they are ready to go at it alone from the state of Uttar Pradesh.
PL Punia, a Rajya Sabha member from the Congress, on Saturday said his party is preparing to contest alone.
"A coalition is not important... Our workers are ready... We have not spoken to anyone about an alliance," he said.
This comes after SP chief Akhilesh Yadav hinted at retribution after a member of the SP, who was supposed to have been given a ministerial position in the Kamal Nath led Madhya Pradesh Congress government even after SP’s help to push Congress over the majority mark.
"Thanks to the Congress, they did not make our vidhayak (legislator) a minister," Akhilesh Yadav had told reporters last week. By doing so, the Congress had "cleared the path for Uttar Pradesh," he had said.
Politically crucial Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha. The opposition parties defeated the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in three Lok Sabha bypolls last year.
Mayawati was also in double minds about teaming up with the Congress but reluctantly did, when the Congress was barely a few seats away from clinching majority.
She has now demanded that cases against two “innocent” during April's all-India strike by Scheduled Castes are not withdrawn. She would be forced to “reconsider” her support if that isn’t done by the Congress government.
Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati are expected to meet again next week.
With inputs from PTI.