A Samajwadi Party (SP) minister in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, 14 November, said his party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) should merge into a "grand alliance" in order to defeat the BJP in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly Polls.

Fareed Mahfooz Kidwai, the UP minister for planning, said: "God willing, a grand alliance will come into being here also (like Bihar), and we will definitely defeat the BJP and form government."

Kidwai added that it was his "wish" to see arch-rivals SP and BSP come together to see results like that in Bihar, PTI reported.

UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav made Kidwai the technical education minister with independent charge in the recent ministry expansion in the state.

SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav had earlier said if Lalu could bring BSP chief Mayawati to him, he would be "willing to strike an alliance."

However, Mayawati showed no interest, saying she would never forget the June 1995 episode, where she spent several hours locked inside the VIP guest house of Lucknow, scared for her life, while SP goons paraded outside, reported The Times of India.

The grand secular alliance in Bihar between Nitish Kumar belonging to Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Lalu Prasad Yadav, president of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), won them 178 seats out of 243 in the recent Assembly polls in the state.

The RJD won 80 seats, the JD-U 71, and the Congress 27 seats.