NEW DELHI: After BSP supremo Mayawati's recent shocker over poll alliances, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi got a shot in the arm with his SP counterpart Akhilesh Yadav coming out in support of his campaign against the Rafale jet deal.
Not only did Mayawati unilaterally forge a poll pact with former Congressman Ajit Jogi's Chattisgarh Janata Congress for the Chattisgarh polls, she also announced plans to contest 22 seats in Madhya Pradesh in a move which could hamper Rahul and Akhilesh's attempts to sew a BSP-SP-Congress-RLD grouping to counter the BJP in the next year's Lok Sabha polls.
"We demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe in the Rafale deal. Without a JPC the truth will not come out, the issue has now become global," Akhilesh Yadav said at the SP's social justice rally held at Delhi's iconic Jantar Mantar.
Rahul has been slamming the centre, especially PM Modi, over the Rafale jet deal saying a JPC probe was the only way to find out the truth in the matter.
The Congress campaign against the PM had largely been a solo show but with Akhilesh joining the issue, the "UP ke ladke" might be up for a fresh tango ahead of the 2019 national polls."UP ke ladke" famously referred to Rahul and Akhilesh, who had forged a pre-poll alliance ahead of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, much against the wishes of the SP founder patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. Mayawati then chose to stay away from the Congress-SP pact thinking she would be able to tackle the BJP on her own. Though she proved to be wrong in her assessment, the BSP chief might be nurturing similar plans now, said a Congress insider.
Interestingly, Mulayam Singh attended the SP's social justice rally at Jantar Mantar in a clear support for his son who has been miffed with uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav's move to form a separate political outfit. Party sources said Netaji's (as Mulayam is referred to in the party) presence at Jantar Mantar was a big boost for the Akhilesh camp while being a sure dampner for Shivpal. At the rally, both Mulayam and Akhilesh slammed PM Modi's policies like demonetization, GST and joblessness and vowed to oust the BJP from power at the centre and later in the state they ruled from 2012 till last year.