Exuding confidence that an opposition alliance would take shape in the days to come, Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav said regional parties would play a key role in putting up a fight against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. However, on the role of the Congress in this proposed opposition front, Yadav said it is for the grand old party to decide.
"Efforts are on to forge an opposition alliance or front. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao are making efforts (on their own). I am confident that in the days to come, an opposition alliance will take shape, which will fight against the BJP," he told PTI Video in an interview.
To a question, whether he is putting the Congress and the BJP on the same pedestal, the SP chief said it is the regional parties in various states which are fighting the saffron camp.
"In many states, the Congress doesn't exist in comparison to the BJP, but regional parties are fighting tooth and nail against the saffron camp on the ground, and I am hopeful that they will succeed," he said.
When told that regional parties such as the JD (U), RJD, and the DMK are keen on having the Congress in the opposition alliance, Yadav said they are already in a coalition with the grand old party. “It is a question of a big fight, and the Congress itself will decide its role in this fight,” he said. Asked who would be the face of the opposition camp in the next Lok Sabha elections, Yadav said it would be decided after the polls and is "not a pertinent question" right now.
"You are talking about face. What about the (BJP’s) face in 2014 and 2019, who made false promises to win the election?” he said without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
None of the promises made by the BJP in 2014 and 2019 was fulfilled, the SP chief claimed. When asked whether his party would contest in the Raebareli and Amethi Lok Sabha seats in UP – considered pocket boroughs of the Congress, Yadav alleged that SP workers are being killed in Amethi.
"In Amethi, our cadres are being killed. The Samajwadi Party workers are questioning who will fight for them. It is the Samajwadi workers there who are supporting each other; the Congress workers are not coming out in our support," he said.
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi is the MP of Raebareli while her son and former party president Rahul Gandhi was defeated by Union minister Smriti Irani from Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Yadav said the Samajwadi Party would leave no stone unturned to stop the juggernaut of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in the next Lok Sabha polls.
"If the BJP wants to come to power in 2024, it has to win in UP. We will ensure that the BJP is defeated in UP and also in the country. In Uttar Pradesh, we will fight with our existing allies," he said.
The SP and the Congress had joined hands in the 2017 assembly polls in UP but lost to the BJP. In the Lok Sabha polls held two years later, the grand old party was kept out of the SP-BSP alliance in the state.
Speaking on the Adani issue, the SP chief slammed the Centre for allegedly allowing the loot of the country's assets and public money.
He asked, "Why no question is being asked about the so-called number two (richest man)? Why is there no accountability on public money in LIC and SBI which is getting lost?" The Hindenburg report that alleged accounting fraud and stock manipulation at the Adani group, came just as a Rs 20,000 crore follow-on share sale of the conglomerate's flagship firm Adani Enterprises opened in January.