(Reporting by Sunil Singh)
Lucknow: Samajwadi Party's general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav has announced that he will contest the 2019 General Elections from Sambhal Lok Sabha constituency.
However, addressing the public, Ram Gopal also said that only SP chief Akhilesh Yadav will have the final word on whether he will contest from Sambhal, . He is considered to be a confidant of the former Uttar Pradesh CM.
Interestingly, a few days back the posters and banners that were put up for Ram Gopal's public addresses had photos of Mayawati too, alongside that of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. However, a few days later the BSP chief's photos were missing from them. Also, Ram Gopal in his address did not mention anything regarding tie-up with the Bahujan Samaj Party for the next Lok Sabha polls.
The SP general secretary also said that the MLA from Asmoli Assembly constituency Pinki Yadav (who he calls his sister-in-law) had requested him to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Sambhal. "One cannot say no to a sister-in-law," he said.
At the same time, Ram Gopal slammed the BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh and maintained that the saffron party would lose the next elections. "If the BJP will lose in the state, then they will not have a government in the Centre too," he said. The senior SP leader also questioned the decision of demonetisation and claimed that the BJP government wants to do away with reservation.
On March 14, 2018, the SP had wrested the prestigious Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats from the BJP in the bypolls after reaching an understanding with the BSP.
A consolidation of OBC, Dalit and Muslim votes had powered the SP candidates to victory in Gorakhpur, a seat represented by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for five successive terms, and Phulpur, from where his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya was elected in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
However, on March 27, 2018, indicating that she may not support the SP in the Kairana Lok Sabha bypolls, Mayawati asked cadres to prepare for the 2019 General Elections, PTI quoted sources as saying.
There is not much time left for the next Lok Sabha elections and the party will fully concentrate on preparing for them, the BSP chief had reportedly told workers. BSP will not take active participation, like Gorakhpur and Phulpur, in any of the bypolls taking place in the state, Mayawati had told party workers, sources added, as per the news agency.
UP is all set to see two more bypolls - one on Kairana Lok Sabha seat and the other on Bijnore Assembly seat, in near future.
Earlier, despite suffering a reversal in the recent Rajya Sabha elections where her nominee despite SP and Congress backing did not win, the BSP chief had indicated that her 'friendship' will continue to check the BJP from returning to power at the centre in 2019.
On his part, on March 27, 2018, alleging a conspiracy by the BJP to break the SP-BSP alliance, Akhilesh had said that the saffron party would not return to power if it failed in its endeavour to create a discord between the two parties in UP.
He was speaking during the budget discussion in UP Legislative Council.
(With PTI inputs)