Miffed with the Congress over the failure to arrive at a seat-sharing arrangement in Madhya Pradesh assembly polls, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Friday again deprecated the INDIA bloc ally, saying “if the Congress behaves like this, who will stand with them”.
“I am not giving any advice or suggestions to the Congress party but there is a big challenge before the nation. The BJP is a big party. It is a very organised side. So there should be no confusion regarding this in any party. If you fight with confusion you will not win any election,” the SP president told reporters here.
He added, “If the Congress behaves like this, who will stand with them.”
On Thursday, Akhilesh Yadav had expressed unhappiness over the Congress not allocating any seat to his party despite talks on seat sharing in Madhya Pradesh and suggested that the Congress could get the same treatment from his party in Uttar Pradesh.
The SP chief had said his party leaders wouldn’t have answered calls from the Congress for a meeting in Madhya Pradesh had he known that the INDIA alliance was confined to the national level. “I must have got confused,” he had told reporters.
Hitting back, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee President Ajay Rai said on Friday that Mr Yadav cannot blame the Congress as the SP released its list of candidates before his party and was benefitting the BJP by contesting separately.
However, the SP president reiterated that the INDIA alliance should have clarified that there would be no tie-up in the state elections.
He said, “PDA (Backward, Dalit and Alpsankhyak) was formed before INDIA. On various occasions, I have said that there is an INDIA alliance but our strategy is PDA and PDA will defeat NDA.”
“When a leader of Madhya Pradesh and a former chief minister spoke to us and asked about the seats we wanted in Madhya Pradesh, I shared the performance of SP in various elections in Madhya Pradesh and told him that many people were elected from Madhya Pradesh who joined other parties.
“I reminded that when Congress needed support, SP MLA was the first to offer support and government was formed,” he said.
“We are against the BJP and we offered our support to defeat BJP. In the meeting that continued till 1 am in the night, they assured us to give six seats. But, when they declared candidates on all seats, in compulsion, the SP has to declare candidates from where we are strong,” he said.
The (SP) announced its third list of two candidates on Thursday night. With this, it has announced 33 candidates for the November 17 polls to the 230-member assembly in the BJP-ruled state. The Congress has announced its candidates for 229 seats.
According to insiders from both parties, the Congress had agreed to leave six seats for SP in Madhya Pradesh but the seat-sharing arrangement did not materialise.
“I believe that if you were not ready to give any seat you should have not talked to us. But, they didn’t give any information to us. So, SP is fighting where we have our presence,” said Mr Yadav.
“The emotions that Samajwadis have with Azamgarh it is possible Congress has the same emotions in Raebareli and Amethi. We have never commented on Raebareli and Amethi,” the SP chief said without elaborating.
In the 2018 Madhya Pradesh elections, the SP won one seat (Bijawar in Bundelkhand region) and finished second on five, securing 1.30 per cent votes in alliance with the tribal Gondwana Gantantra Party.
The INDIA grouping came into being primarily to put up a united front against the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan took a dig at the INDIA bloc after its constituents fielded candidates against each other in assembly polls, saying the opposition grouping is driven by the motto of “friendship in Delhi and wrestling in states”.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)