- Mayawati announced alliance with Congress rebel Ajit Jogi in Chhattisgarh
- However, talks still on for Madhya Pradesh, say Congress leaders
- But Congress unlikely to yield to Mayawati's demand for 50 seats in state
The Congress, socked in the jaw by Mayawati's announcement of a tie-up with the party's rebel Ajit Jogi in Chhattisgarh for the year-end state polls, indicated today that talks are still on with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and her aides for Madhya Pradesh.
The leaders plan to meet with Mayawati or her close aides in the next few days to try and seal a pact before Madhya Pradesh becomes a lost opportunity as well.
Top Congress leaders said they were in touch with Mayawati and even spoke last night with her after she announced her alliance and rubbed it in by releasing names of 22 candidates in Madhya Pradesh -- where seat-sharing talks are far from done.
The Congress claims Mayawati is under intense pressure from the BJP not to join any opposition alliance.
But while insisting that all is not lost in Madhya Pradesh, Congress leaders have still ruled out yielding to Mayawati's demand to contest 50 of the state's 230 seats.
"There is no question of 50 seats or even 40 seats that she is pushing for. We don't want the BJP to win and that's the aim," said a leader.
On Thursday, Mayawati announced a tie-up for the Chhattisgarh polls with Ajit Jogi, who was expelled by the Congress in 2016 and is seen to have enough firepower to singe the party in a state it hoped to win after BJP's 15-year rule.
The Dalit leader also released a list of 22 candidates in Morena and Shivpuri; the region is the stronghold of Congress's campaign manager Jyotiraditya Scindia but BSP leaders say it is also within a Dalit belt in Madhya Pradesh.
Congress's local leaders in Chhattisgarh lashed out at the BSP, saying its alliance with Ajit Jogi was the creation of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.
"This alliance had been formed with the BJP's support and the people of the state had an understanding of it," state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel said on Thursday, commenting that Mayawati's party had been "exposed" by supporting Ajit Jogi who was a 'B' team of the BJP.
Election Results for Lok Sabha Election 2019 will be out on May 23. Get the latest election news and live updates on ndtv.com/elections. Catch all the action on NDTV Live. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the election 2019