New Delhi, October 19
The first signs of friction in the anti-BJP INDIA bloc emerged on Thursday with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav accusing the Congress of betrayal in Madhya Pradesh.
Akhilesh, whose party has so far announced 31 candidates for the 230-member Assembly elections due on November 17, said the Congress leaders first gave the SP an impression that they were interested in an alliance, held detailed strategy meetings and then “betrayed us”.
Fight over seats
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has alleged the Congress did not leave the desired seats for the SP despite alliance talks. “Will behave with them the way they behave with us,” said the former UP CM.
The former UP CM also accused the Congress of “helping the BJP”. “These people are aligned with the BJP,” said a visibly upset Akhilesh after the Congress did not leave the desired seats for the SP, despite alliance talks. The Congress has so far named 144 candidates for the state polls.
Akhilesh said he had no idea until now whether the INDIA bloc understanding was limited only to the Lok Sabha elections. “Had I known earlier that there is no state-level INDIA alliance, we would never have gone to meet their leaders. We would not have shared our lists with them nor would we have answered the phones of Congress leaders,” he said.
SP leaders earlier met former CMs and Congress veterans Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh to discuss seat-sharing in the state.
Akhilesh said his leaders kept awake until 1 pm discussing with the Congress their strengths and weaknesses in the state. “We shared with them our lists, told them when our MLAs were elected and even told them where we stood second. They assured consideration of six seats but when the lists came, SP was given nil. Now, we know INDIA is not a state-level alliance. So when discussions happen for an alliance in UP for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, we will see. We will behave with them the way they behave with us,” he said.
Earlier, AAP, another constituent of INDIA bloc, declared 39 candidates for MP where the Congress is directly pitted against the BJP. In 2018, the Congress, a few seats short of a majority, had formed the government in MP with support from SP and BSP MLAs.
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