Tejashwi Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav address a press conference on the Uttar Pradesh alliance
As Akhilesh Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav – the main opposition forces in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – addressed a joint press conference today, a question on Rahul Gandhi and Congress was meant to rub in their difference on a core alliance question.
But Tejashwi Yadav, the son of jailed RJD leader Lalu Yadav, deftly handled what could have been a tricky question.
"In Bihar, Rahul Gandhi's Congress is a part of your alliance but in Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati have left the party out. What do you have to say?" Tejashwi Yadav was asked.
He replied: "Our aim is to defeat the BJP. You saw how in recent by-polls Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) were enough to defeat the BJP. Rahul Gandhi has also said whether or not he is part of the alliance, the BJP should be defeated."
When the questions persisted, Tejashwi Yadav, who is seen to be close to Rahul Gandhi, said: "We are not different."
The BSP and Samajwadi had said while announcing their tie-up that they did not see any benefit of including the Congress in their alliance.
Tejashwi Yadav met with Mayawati on Sunday and Akhilesh Yadav today. He said the Samajwadi Party-BSP alliance, announced by the two former UP chief ministers on Saturday, was something that his father Lalu Yadav had talked about.
"Now in UP and Bihar, consider the BJP wiped out. With this gatbandhan (alliance) in the two big states, the BJP is automatically 100 seats down," Tejashwi Yadav said.
The BSP and Samajwadi had said while announcing their tie-up that they did not see any benefit of including the Congress in their alliance. "Past experience tells us that the Congress can't transfer votes to us. We ensure that votes are transferred to the Congress but they don't reciprocate. We have decided that we will not tie up with a party like the Congress across the country, where they can't transfer votes to us," Mayawati said.
On Sunday, the Congress responded saying that earlier its workers were preparing to contest 25 seats in UP, now the party would contest all 80 seats.