- Lone Samajwadi Party legislator not made minister in Madhya Pradesh
- Akhilesh Yadav says decision has "cleared the path for Uttar Pradesh"
- This amid speculation that UP parties planning coalition without Congress
Akhilesh Yadav has hit out at the Congress for not including his Samajwadi Party's lone lawmaker in the Madhya Pradesh government despite the party's role in helping it reach the majority mark. The Samajwadi chief's broadside came with an unsubtle hint about Uttar Pradesh.
"Thanks to the Congress, they did not make our vidhayak (legislator) a minister," Akhilesh Yadav told reporters on Wednesday. By doing so, said the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, the Congress had "cleared the path for Uttar Pradesh".
The comments come in the middle of speculation that the Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are planning to keep the Congress out of a possible coalition to take on the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 national election, due by May.
The Congress, with 114 seats in the Madhya Pradesh election, emerged as the single largest party in the 230-member assembly, but managed to touch majority only with support from the BSP and the Samajwadi, which have won two seats and one. But no lawmaker from the BSP or Samajwadi Party has been included in the Congress cabinet of Kamal Nath.
Giving the media plenty to read between the lines, Akhilesh Yadav said in Delhi, "In the days to come, who all will join hands with the SP, who all want to come, all options are open."
The 45-year-old also welcomed Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's ongoing moves to consolidate non-Congress, non-BJP parties in a federal front and said they would meet soon, though he added that he would not be able to meet him this time. He said he would go and meet Mr Rao in Telangana and discuss the political scenario.
Akhilesh Yadav's statements once again telegraphed disenchantment with the Congress and reinforced speculation that the Congress was on its way to being elbowed out of the proposed "grand alliance" in Uttar Pradesh. The Samajwadi chief has officially denied any strain with Rahul Gandhi after their failed alliance for last year's Uttar Pradesh election, in which they had been projected as "UP ke ladke (UP's boys)".
Mayawati has already dropped similar hints. While extending support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, she had shown her reluctance, saying people had voted for the Congress with a heavy heart and that she was extending support only to keep the BJP out.