Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has indicated the door to the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra has not been opened for him yet. His comments come even as the Congress and the Samajwadi Party are holding seat-sharing talks in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha election due in two months.
Both the Congress and the Samajwadi Party are part of the newly formed Opposition bloc INDIA.
Mr Yadav, however, said he is yet to get any invitation for the Congress yatra led by Rahul Gandhi, which entered West Bengal, then went to Bihar, and then returned to Bengal.
“The problem is that we don’t get invited to many big events… So how do we ask for an invitation ourselves?” Mr Yadav told reporters when asked whether he would join the yatra when it enters UP.
When pointed out that the top Samajwadi Party leader was invited to the Ram temple consecration ceremony, he said, “We asked that (invitation) ourselves… After we informed them that our house was cleaned with Ganga jal (water), then we heard that they have decided to invite us.”
When the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra rolled into Bengal on January 25 morning, it followed a new route to pass quickly through the northern districts before it entered neighbouring Bihar.
The yatra re-entered Bengal only this week to visit the traditional Congress strongholds of Malda and Murshidabad.
The last-minute change in plans was seen as the Congress and Rahul Gandhi reacting to the bombshell dropped by Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that her party Trinamool Congress won’t share seats with the Congress for the general election.
Ms Banerjee had also said she is reviewing her party’s membership of the INDIA bloc.
The Samajwadi Party has announced candidates on 11 seats, some of which were being claimed by the Congress.
Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav today said they have declared 16 seats. “We will declare more seats in a couple of days. So on and so forth. The Congress and the Samajwadi Party have reached a final agreement in Uttar Pradesh,” Mr Yadav said.
This unilateral announcement of first giving 16 seats to Congress and then declaring candidates on 11 seats has strained the ties between the two parties. The Congress says that the seat sharing talks have not concluded yet
Samajwadi Party leader and Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav said there should not be any further delay in deciding candidates for the Lok Sabha election. “This is an important election. It is an election to save the Constitution. There should not be any further delay,” she said.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati announced in January that her party will go solo in the Lok Sabha polls, but did not rule out a post-poll alliance.