SP, BSP snub Congress, leave 2 seats for party

New Delhi: The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced their tie-up in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls on Saturday, deciding to contest on 38 seats each out of the total 80 and keeping the Congress out of their alliance. The SP also hinted at supporting BSP president Mayawati as a prime ministerial candidate.

The two regional parties said they would not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi respectively. They also left two seats for smaller allies, without naming them. But there have been reports on talks with the Rash-triya Lok Dal (RLD) for a place in the alliance.

The former arch-rivals announced their poll arrangement at a joint press conference addressed by BSP chief Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav.

“Yeh naye varsh 2019 mein nayi rajnaitik kranti ka sandesh mana jayega (This will be regarded as a new political revolution in the new year 2019),” Mayawati said, asserting that the alliance aims to win polls and serve backward communities, including dalits and Muslims.

Hinting at a long-term arrangement with the SP, Mayawati said, “The alliance will last long, beyond Lok Sabha polls and in the UP Assembly elections.” Mr Yadav also hinted that he would support Mayawati as prime ministerial candidate.

“You know whom I will support… I have said in the past that UP has always given the PM (to the country), and I will be happy if it gives the PM again,” he said in a indirect reference to his support for Mayawati as Prime Minister.

The two leaders did not make it clear whether they will themselves contest the polls, which are to be held by May.

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