LUCKNOW: Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati has raised the stakes in efforts to put up a united opposition front for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. On Sunday, she said the BSP is prepared to fight the elections on its own if it is not offered seat sharing deals that it is satisfied with. Mayawati's statement comes even as the Congress tries to work out a seat sharing formula with the BSP for the coming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
At a press conference in Lucknow on Sunday, Mayawati however seemed to indicate that there would be rapprochement with the BJP. She launched a stringing attack on the BJP over number of issues, like fuel prices, falling Rupee, lynchings, cow vigilantism and the alleged Rafale scam.
However, she was categorical when sounding the warning shot to opposition parties - especially the Congress - with whom she has often shared stage over the past couple of years.
"We will agree to alliance anywhere and in any election only when we get a fair share of seats," she said. "Otherwise, BSP will contest alone," she added.
The public warning is seemingly meant to bring more pressure on the Congress which is locked in seat sharing negotiations with the BSP, especially in Madhya Pradesh, according to reports.
The pressure would likely arise from the prospects of a divided vote delivering yet another strong performance for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. This is what happened in the four-cornered contests in the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. With 80 seats, UP is critical chunk which can make or break any bid to capture power in New Delhi.
In 2014, the BJP had won a whopping 71 of the 80 seats, and had picked up a massive 325 of the 403 seats in the 2017 Assembly elections. However, an alliance between the BSP and archrival Samajwadi Party saw the BJP fail to retain two Lok Sabha seats in bye-elections.
A possible failure to rope Mayawati into the alliance could well spell doom for the already-elusive opposition alliance. Whether this will work as a pressure tactic or would end up working in the BJP's favour will be known by how the seat sharing arrangement materialises ahead of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections.
(With inputs from ANI)