SP-BSP Alliance For 2019 LS Polls: Rahul Gandhi, RJD, Mamata React

Congress President Rahul Gandhi reacted to the announcement of the alliance between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday, 12 January, stating that he had “tremendous respect for its leaders”.

Speaking at a press conference in Dubai, he said, “They have a right to do what they want to do.” Meanwhile, he expressed confidence that the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh would fight with its full capacity.

Once arch rivals, the SP and the BSP announced their tie-up in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, sharing 38 seats each and keeping the Congress out of the alliance.

The announcement, made at a joint press conference with SP President Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati, drew positive reactions from several party leaders, including chief ministers Mamata Banerjee and Kamal Nath. The BJP, meanwhile, did not concur.

“The SP and BSP have allied neither for the country nor for Uttar Pradesh, but for their survival. They know they cannot fight Modi on their own and their opposition to him is the sole base of their alliance,” said senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader said BJP’s failure has begun with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. “BJP ke haar ki shuruwaat Uttar Pradesh aur Bihar se ho chuki hai,” he told ANI.

Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath said India needs such alliances.

"“Today there is a need of alliances in the entire country. BJP got only 31 percent vote in 2014 and claimed it was people’s mandate, this happened due to split in votes.” " - Kamal Nath, Madhya Pradesh CM

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also welcomed the SP-BSP alliance. In a tweet, she said, “I welcome the alliance of the SP and the BSP for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.”

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge also commented on the alliance. “Indian politics doesn’t function on the whims of one or two parties. At a time when RSS and BJP are trying to divide the society with their ideas, all secular parties should fight as one. Like in Karnataka, JD (S) has been given important portfolios. In spite of differences of opinions, this is important to uphold secular values,” he told ANI.

Congress leader, P Chidambaram said there’s more to come before the elections. “Perhaps this isn't the last word, maybe there will be some rethink as the elections approach. A truly broad-based alliance will be formed in UP. If necessary, Congress party will contest elections on its own strength,” he told ANI.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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