Lucknow: In a big setback to the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati announced an alliance with Ajit Jogi's Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) ahead of the upcoming Chhattisgarh polls 2018.
In the 90-member Assembly, BSP will contest from 35 seats and JCC from the remaining 55, announced Mayawati on Thursday, adding that Jogi will be the chief ministerial candidate of the combo.
"We have decided to forge an alliance with the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh. Ajit Jogi will be the chief ministerial candidate," said the BSP chief.
In a veiled reference to Congress, the 62-year-old Dalit leader added, "My views on alliance with other parties are clear. We will go for an alliance if our party gets a respectable number of seats and if the ideologies match."
She said that the "historic alliance will bring development and prosperity to the downtrodden, the poor, Dalits, minorities, tribals and marginalised sections of society".
The alliance will soon iron out details of the joint election campaign and rallies.
Mayawati's move is a huge blow for the Congress, which is trying to build up a united Opposition against the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The party was also hoping for an alliance with the Dalit powerhouse from Uttar Pradesh and thus brighten its chances against the Raman Singh-led BJP government in the tribal-dominated state.
Congress will now go solo in the Chhattisgarh polls.
During the conference, Mayawati alleged that the BJP government in Chhattisgarh did nothing for the state in the past 15 years and that a "strong regional representation" was necessary to ensure that it is not neglected.
In Chhattisgarh, the Dalit population plays an important role in determining election results in regions such as Janjgir-Champa, Raigarh and Bastar.
Mayawati also announced the names of 22 party candidates contesting for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, also due this year.
With agency inputs