Despite attacks by Akhilesh, Congress in Uttar Pradesh hopeful of Opposition realignment due to electoral realities

Since the last couple of months the Congress party has been continuously targeted by the SP with Mr. Yadav going as far as to say that both the BJP and the Congress are the same

Updated - March 21, 2023 03:12 pm IST

Published - March 21, 2023 02:55 pm IST - Lucknow

File photo of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav

File photo of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav | Photo Credit: ANI

Amid continuous attacks by the Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav on the Congress, Uttar Pradesh Congress leaders are hopeful that a kind of alliance or tactical understanding with like-minded Opposition parties including the SP may happen in the run-up to the 2024 polls, as defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the main agenda of both parties.

“I am not reacting to individual statements, but speaking principally the fact remains larger unity of opposition parties is needed to defeat the BJP. Majority vote (roughly 68%) is still against the BJP, if we 40-45% people come together, we will win, and you would see this will happen,” Pramod Tiwari, a senior Congress Rajya Sabha member who has been a pillar of the party in U.P. for more than four decades, told The Hindu.

On the issue of an Opposition front nationally without the Congress party, the idea floated by many regional Opposition parties including the SP, the Congress leader said an Opposition alliance without Congress will strengthen the BJP and asked if any credible Opposition formulation is ever possible without the principal Opposition party. “Is an idea of opposition front without the main opposition party possible? Is a circle possible without nucleus?, an opposition alliance without Congress will strengthen the BJP,” added Mr. Tiwari, who served as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) in U.P. for record nine times.

Earlier last week during the SP national executive meeting in Kolkata, Mr. Yadav met West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee in an indication of working towards a non-Congress opposition front at the national level and said that the two parties would be maintaining an equal distance from both the BJP and the Congress. Many Congress leaders in U.P. also argue that the recent statements by the SP leadership are aimed at building pressure on Congress before the Lok Sabha polls, so that the SP gets an upper hand during any kind of negotiations.

Since the last couple of months the Congress party has been continuously targeted by the SP with Mr. Yadav going as far as to say that both the BJP and the Congress are the same. The SP chief also hinted at putting the party’s candidate from Amethi, a Congress-pocket seat, represented by the Gandhi family till 2019, that the SP has left for the grand-old party since almost three decades.

“I was deeply saddened to see the plight of poor women in Amethi. VIPs have always won and lost here, despite this condition is like this so what to say about the rest of the state,” wrote the SP chief in Hindi on Twitter, along with two photographs of women sitting on the ground during his Amethi visit weeks back and added, “next time Amethi will not elect big people but people with big hearts. SP takes a pledge to eradicate poverty from Amethi,”.

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