In an indication of strengthening opposition unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, reports following the lunch hosted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi suggests that the BSP chief Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav might come together for a joint rally in Uttar Pradesh for the first time.
According to Times of India, the idea of a joint rally was mooted at the Friday lunch by Sonia Gandhi. In the meeting, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has reportedly asked both Mayawati and Akhilesh to come together to help build a big anti-BJP “political congregation” across the country.
Senior SP leader and MP Naresh Agarwal confirmed that the idea of organizing joint rallies was floated and unanimously agreed upon by all anti-BJP parties at the event.
“A joint opposition is the need of the hour to take on the BJP,” he told TOI, adding that a rally would be organised after Lalu Yadav’s rally in Patna on 27 August after the presidential elections.
The daily also reported that the development was confirmed by BSP sources privy to the meeting, who said that Mayawati endorsed the idea. “I am 100 percent with you,” she was quoted as saying.
The coming together of Akhilesh and Mayawati has been widely speculated since the two regional satraps faced a complete rout at the hands of the BJP during the recent UP assembly elections.
It is also reported that along with Lalu, Mamta Banerjee of Trinamool is also learnt to have been trying to convince both Mayawati and Akhilesh to join hands.
The SP got only 47 seats in the recently-conlcuded polls for 403-member UP Assembly. The BSP managed to win just 19 seats.
It was in 1993, when the two political camps joint together the state election, in which they have bagged a remarkable victory. The alliance ended after BSP withdrew the support from the Mulyam-led government in 1995.