At a time when the INDIA bloc hit the Nitish Kumar block in Bihar, the Samajwadi Party chief on Saturday extended an olive branch to the Congress. Akhilesh Yadav exuded confidence that an 11-seat formula has been agreed upon with the Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. If Nitish Kumar decides to return to the NDA fold, the Opposition united front will take a big hit.
“Our cordial alliance with Congress is off to a good start with 11 strong seats… This trend will move forward with the winning equation,” Akhilesh said on X. Interestingly, Akhilesh had on Friday said that the Congress has a “big responsibility” of taking along smaller parties.
However, minutes after his tweet, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “Talks are going on between Akhilesh Yadavji and Ashok Gehlot regarding Uttar Pradesh. They will meet soon. Only after the matter is completed can we say what the formula is.”
‘No alliance with Congress in Bengal’
Last week, in a major setback to the INDIA bloc, especially for Congress, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee announced that her party will fight Lok Sabha polls “alone” in the state, a remark that rattled the grand old party and triggered reactions from leaders of the opposition front.
Talking to reporters in Kolkata, Banerjee said, “I had given them (Congress) a proposal (on seat-sharing), but they refused it at the outset. Our party has now decided to go alone in Bengal… Now, we have decided that there will be no relations with the Congress in Bengal,” Banerjee said amid the tussle between the two parties over the seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha polls in the state. The TMC chief also dismissed reports of any talks with the Congress over the seat-sharing, saying she has not spoken to anyone in the grand old party on the issue. “Let the Congress fight 300 seats on its own (in the country). The regional parties are together and can contest the rest. However, we will not tolerate any interference by them (Congress) in Bengal,” she asserted.
Akhilesh ‘unlikely’ to join Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in UP
It will spend 11 days in the state and pass through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi, Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi‘s constituency Rae Bareli, and Rahul’s former constituency Amethi, currently represented by Union Minister Smriti Irani, among others. In total, the party will cover 1,074 km in 20 districts of UP. There is no clarity yet whether SP will have a tie-up with the Congress in UP for the general election or not.