Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati has taken Congress by surprise after she announced a tie-up with Congress-rebel Ajit Jogi's Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) party for the upcoming polls. She also announced a list of 22 candidates for the Madhya Pradesh polls.
This tie-up is a huge blow for the Congress since the party was hoping to form an alliance with all the opposition parties ahead of the 2019 general elections. They were also hoping that an alliance with the BSP would help them with a breakthrough in Uttar Pradesh.
While addressing a press conference in Lucknow on Thursday, the BSP chief made it clear that in case the alliance wins in Chhattisgarh, Ajit Jogi would become the chief minister.
"My views on an alliance with other parties are clear. We will go for an alliance if our party gets a respectable number of seats and if the ideologies match...historic alliance will bring development and prosperity to the downtrodden, the poor, Dalits, minorities, tribals and marginalised sections of society," Mayawati was quoted as saying by Zee News.
Mayawati later went on to say that the BSP would be contesting in 35 seats and the JCC in 55 seats, according to TOI.
The Mayawati-led BSP also formed an alliance with Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana.
"We were in talks in both Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, more actively in the latter. We are still assessing the situation in Madhya Pradesh and for now, we are not ruling out further discussion. Chhattisgarh comes as a surprise because the BSP has gone along with Jogi. We are confident of going alone now," a senior Congress leader was quoted saying by Live Mint.
Congress will now be contesting in the Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh polls without any alliance.
Congress' comments on the alliance
Congress has said that this alliance has BJP written all over it and that the ruling party has supported the alliance and even encouraged it.
"Pressure from the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate on the BSP has led to the creation of this alliance. This alliance had been formed with the BJP's support and the people of the state had an understanding of it," Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel told PTI.
He went on to say, " In the coming polls too, the BSP will field candidates as per the ruling party's choice. This time the party has been exposed by supporting Jogi who has acted as a 'B' team of the BJP."