NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday accused the Congress of betrayal in Madhya Pradesh and warned the grand old party that it will get the same treatment in Uttar Pradesh. The SP chief also alleged that some Congress leaders were in cahoots with the BJP.
The remarks of Akhilesh, who is a key member of the anti-BJP front INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance), brings to fore the simmering tension within the opposition alliance ahead of the assembly elections in the five states.
The INDIA bloc, which was formed with the idea of uniting the opposition against the BJP in elections, seems to have no plan in place for the assembly elections. The SP chief had echoed this uncertainty yesterday when he wondered if the opposition front was only at the national level or also for the state elections?
The Congress, which is a key player in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and has governments in two of them, is silent on the issue.
However, the silence of the grand old party is leading to bitterness among the allies. UP Congress chief Ajai Rai has asked the SP to withdraw from contest in Madhya Pradesh. Ajai Rai claimed that SP would have lost the Ghosi assembly election if the Congress had contested from the seat.
Akhilesh Yadav responded fiercely to the UP Congress chief’s remarks.
“The state chief has no authority. He was not there in the meeting held at Patna, Mumbai. What does he know about the INDIA alliance? These people from Congress are siding or involved with the BJP,” the SP leader said in Sitapur.
SP chief further said that the Congress leadership should not allow its “small leaders” to comment on his party. He added he would not have trusted them if he had known that people from Congress would betray us.
“Had I known on the first day that there is no alliance at the Vidhan Sabha level, our party leaders wouldn’t have gone to the meetings. We wouldn’t have given them a list (of seats that the SP wanted to contest in MP), nor would we have picked their calls,” he added.
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 tribal Gondwana Gantantra Party.
Another INDIA partner, the Aam Aadmi Party has also entered the fray in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Arvind Kejriwal‘s party has targeted the Congress in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh accusing the state governments in the two states of corruption. AAP has also announced candidates in the poll-bound states without waiting for any alliance talks.
The lack of clarity over alliance in states, seems to have taken the steam out of the INDIA bloc which held the first three meetings with great excitement. The last meeting in Mumbai formed a coordination panel to discuss seat sharing formula between allies. The Mumbai meet had also resolved to hold joint rallies in the poll-bound states under the INDIA banner. The first such rally that was to be held in Madhya Pradesh was cancelled soon after it was announced.
None of the alliance partners are willing to cede grounds in their strongholds. We have seen AAP react strongly and even threaten to walkout of the alliance when a Congress spokesperson announced that the party is gearing up for a strong contest in all the 7 Lok Sabha seats of Delhi.
The Congress faces a dilemma – if it asks SP and AAP to play second fiddle in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan claiming that it is the dominant player in these states – it will face similar demands from these regional parties in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Delhi. On the other hand, if the SP and the AAP go ahead and contest with full strength in these states, it could give the Congress an excuse to chart its own course in all assembly elections.

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