LUCKNOW: Former Unnao MP Annu Tandon on Monday joined Samajwadi Party within days of quitting the Congress, expressing dissatisfaction with the functioning of its Uttar Pradesh unit.
Tandon joined the Samajwadi Party along with AICC joint secretary Shashank Shekhar Shukla and UPCC general secretary Ankit Parihar and nearly150 party workers in a small function at the SP headquarters in presence of Akhilesh Yadav.
Speaking on the occasion, Yadav defended his party alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party before the 2019 general elections on the ground of a need to stop communal forces from coming to power.
He also rejected BSP chief Mayawati's assertion earlier during the day that her party was not going to have any alliance with the BJP.
"People know better", said Akhilesh Yadav, seeking to reject Mayawati's denial of any move by her party to have an alliance with the BJP, speculation triggered by her earlier statement that she would defeat SP candidates in the Rajya Sabha polls even if that meant having to go along with the BJP.
Defending his party's alliance with the BSP in 2019, Yadav said, "The alliance with the BSP was necessary to stop the BJP. We are not against anyone, but unless we add people, how can we defeat the BJP?"
The SP chief also hinted at the BSP veering off its core ideology as the reason for Mayawati's alleged move to have an association with the BJP.
"I am of the opinion that Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar's ideologies are like two wheels of a cycle and that is why the alliance (with the BSP) was formed," he said.
Terming the assembly bypolls on seven seats in the state as a "litmus test", Yadav said the "people of the state have made up their minds against the BJP which has harmed people of both the Dalit and backward communities as well as those of upper and other classes.
He also accused the state government of misusing the official machinery in the state assembly bypolls, asserting that despite that the BJP is going to taste defeat.
He said his party was trying to "save" the state and its people are waiting for the time to teach the BJP a lesson.
The SP chief also alleged that actions against his party leaders Azam Khan and Munnawar Rana were taken on directions of the government.
Speaking on the occasion, Annu Tandon praised Akhilesh Yadav and termed him as a "young, progressive and visionary leader having all the qualities, which are expected in a leader".
"I had been working with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and got their support. But the situation changed after 2019," she said.
Asked if she was not satisfied with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Tandon said, "I did not get a chance to work with her. But the UP Congress has turned worthless."
Other prominent Congress leaders and workers who joined the Samajwadi Party along with Tandon are AICC member Vir Pratap Singh, State Congress Committee members Rajkumar Lodhi and Brijpal Singh Yadav, the party's former Unnao district president Surya Narayan Yadav and party's Unnao district's Women Cell president Neha Pande.