MUMBAI: BJP's estranged NDA ally Shiv Sena has taken a dig at the pre-poll tie-up between the Samajwadi Party and the BSP in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections and said that the absence of Congress has put a question mark on the proposed Grand Alliance or 'Mahagathbandhan' of the on-BJP parties.
Taking potshots at the SP-BSP alliance for Lok Sabha polls, Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said both parties are ideologically opposite and none was people-oriented.
"This alliance is not a people-oriented alliance. The only aim is to keep right-wing parties away. People know both parties have in the past bitterly opposed each other and their coming together now is purely for electoral purposes without a definite development agenda," Kayande said.
She further said the alliance has dealt the first "blow" to the Congress's vision of a grand alliance.
"This alliance has surely put a question mark and made the fate of 'mahagathbandhan' uncertain. Only the future will tell if (NCP chief Sharad) Pawar and (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi are able to do something for themselves before the elections," she said.
NCP leader Dhananjay Munde, meanwhile, claimed the 2019 Lok Sabha polls against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be the "second freedom struggle".
"For this, all secular parties will have to come together and act responsibly. The SP-BSP-Congress and all other like-minded parties have to come together to safeguard our Constitution and democracy," the Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council said.
Once-arch rivals, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Saturday announced their tie-up in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, sharing 38 LS seats each and keeping the Congress out of the alliance.
The parties, however, said they would not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi respectively.
The SP-BSP also left two seats, out of 80, for smaller allies.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said the alliance of SP-BSP was a state-specific issue.
"However, in Maharashtra, we will ensure proper discussions take place and a consensus is arrived at for an alliance of like-minded parties," Sawant said.
(With Agency Inputs)