Onus on Cong to bring like-minded parties together, says Akhilesh Yadav


LUCKNOW: The Samajwadi Party (SP) on Monday said it is the Congress’s responsibility to bring parties with similar ideology under one umbrella.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav said it is his party that can turn out to be a friend of the Congress if the country’s oldest political party becomes weaker.

The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said Congress leaders who are not fielded by their party for the upcoming assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh can join his outfit.

Yadav was apparently angry after a SP candidate, Arjun Arya, refused to contest on the party ticket from Budhni, the assembly seat represented by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Moreover, Arya even expressed a wish to join the Congress.

Asked about this, Yadav told reporters on Monday, “The Congress annoyed the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) the same way. If there is a Congress leader behind this (Arya’s refusal), we welcome all those who want to contest on the SP ticket.

“I would not say that the Congress should take our candidates, but it may feel bad if I say that those not fielded by the Congress can join the SP.”

He added, “But remember one thing — when the Congress becomes weaker, the SP can prove its friend. This is the Congress’s responsibility to bring parties with similar ideology under one umbrella.”

The UP-based party, which released a list of six candidates on Sunday for the Madhya Pradesh polls, had announced to field Arya from Budhni.

Arya, however, had said the Congress is the only party capable of defeating the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, where the saffron outfit is in power since 2003.

“Only alternative to defeat the anti-farmer BJP rule is the Congress. So, with due respect I refused to contest on the SP ticket and go with the Congress,” he had said.

Arya had said, “I held an agitation against the BJP government in the month of September. I was arrested and kept in Bhopal’s Central Jail, where former chief minister Digvijay Singh had met me on September 18. I will soon join the Congress.”

Elections in Madhya Pradesh, which has a 230-member assembly, are scheduled on November 28, while the counting of votes would be held on December 11.

On October 6, Yadav had said the SP will no longer wait for the Congress to decide on an alliance for Madhya Pradesh elections, suggesting it preferred Ms. Mayawati’s BSP.

The SP’s snub to the Congress comes just days after Ms. Mayawati ruled out any BSP alliance with that party for Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh assembly elections.

“The Congress has made us wait for too long. How much longer must we wait? SP president Akhilesh Yadav said.

“We will now consult the Gondwana Gantantra Party with which we had an alliance, and also the BSP, for the coming assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh,” Yadav had told reporters in Lucknow.

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