Blow to Opposition unity? Akhilesh backs Mamata, says SP to maintain equal distance from BJP and Congress

The Samajwadi Party chief met West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee ahead of a meeting of party workers in Kolkata.

Mamata Banerjee | Akhilesh
(Photo: Twitter/@AITCOfficial)

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has said that his party will maintain equidistant from the Bharatiya Janata Party as well as the Congress. The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister was in Kolkata to attend a party workers’ meet. He also called on West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee ahead of the meeting where the two sides have agreed to join hands to keep the BJP and Congress at bay.

“In Bengal, we are with Mamata didi. Right now, our stand is that we want to maintain equal distance from both the BJP and the Congress,” Akhilesh said speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the meet. “The Samajwadi Party is ready to make any sacrifice to protect our Constitution. If we can defeat the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP can be defeated across the country,” he added.

The remarks by Akhilesh, whose Samajwadi Party had tied up with the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections mirror the statements of senior Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay following the meeting of the two leaders.

“We will go our own way, maintain distance from the Congress and the BJP. We are not talking about forming any third front at the moment… The Congress should not feel that it is the big boss of the opposition front,” he told reporters, adding that Mamata will meet regional parties ahead of the Lok Sabha elections to fight the BJP.

The Trinamool MP, however, ruled out the possibility of a third front at the moment.

Akhilesh Yadav’s meeting with Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata comes as the Congress tries to put together a united front to take on the BJP at the Centre in the general elections a year from now. The Trinamool believes it can counter the BJP’s strategy of positioning Rahul Gandhi as its key opponent, something that has been visible through the party’s relentless attacks against the Wayanad MP over the latter’s remarks on the state of Indian democracy during his recent trip to the UK.

According to a media report, Mamata is also scheduled to meet Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who heads the Biju Janata Dal, in the coming week. As per the report, the Trinamool, SP and the BJD are on the same page as far as maintaining equal distance from the BJP and Congress is concerned.

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First published on: 17-03-2023 at 19:34 IST
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