NEW DELHI/LUCKNOW/BHOPAL: In a major jolt to Opposition unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, mercurial BSP chief Mayawati on Wednesday lit into the Congress for offering her a paltry share of seats in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, adding she has decided to go it alone.
While the Congress played down the attack, indicating the doors for an alliance were not shut, it was music to the ears of BJP chief Amit Shah, trying as he is to counter anti-incumbency in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Hours later, Samajwadi Party Akhilesh Yadav chipped in, saying the Congress must show magnanimity while forging an alliance.
“We won’t go with the Congress at any cost in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. We think the Congress is trying to eliminate smaller parties like the BSP in the name of wiping out the BJP,” Mayawati said in an interview to an electronic news agency.
The BSP had polled 6.29 per cent votes in Madhya Pradesh in 2013, which was 2.2 per cent less than the victory margin between the BJP and the Congress.
In Rajasthan, where BJP Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is sweating it out, the BSP’s 3.37 per cent share in 2013 could act as the swing votes, had the grand old party shown more accommodation.
Mayawati singled out Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh for attack, saying he wrecked the alliance in Madhya Pradesh fearing CBI and Enforcement Directorate raids. She, however, said UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi were in favour of striking an electoral pact with the BSP.
Observers also see in Mayawati’s belligerence an attempt to cut the Congress seat share in Uttar Pradesh in 2019, so as to ensure the SP and the BSP get to enjoy big chunks of the seat cake. For his part, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala hoped any creases in the relationship between the two parties would be removed through discussion, though views of the respective state units would be factored in before any poll pacts.