Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ramping up his attack against the Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav alliance, today said the two parties will rip off each other's clothes once the national election results are declared on May 23. Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party and her former arch-rival Samajwadi Party have teamed up against the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, putting to test what they believe could be a winning formula in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh.
PM Modi also took a swipe at the prime ministerial ambitions of Mayawati, saying: "The leaders, who until recently were playing 'Kaun Banega Pradhan Mantri' (Who Wants To Be Prime Minister - a spin on the title of a popular TV game show), after the fourth phase of elections are now playing hide-and-seek".
The BSP chief has recently been hinting at her national ambitions. At a press conference in Andhra Pradesh earlier this month, she said: "As far as my becoming PM is concerned, let me tell you the elections are on. Wait for the results. If we get a chance at the centre, we will develop the country on the UP pattern. All of this is not new for me. I am a four-time UP chief minister; I have the experience. When election results come out, we will see".
This, however, is not the first time that Mayawati made her pitch for the top job. In 2014, her party contested all 503 Lok Sabha seats, but failed to win a single one, even in her home state.
PM Modi, addressing rallies in UP's Bahraich and Barabanki today, did not spare the Congress either. "Those who are not in a position to become Leader of Opposition by getting 50 to 55 seats, are getting clothes stitched for becoming PM".
Referring to an overarching alliance of the all opposition parties, where West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is also a participant, PM Modi said that these leaders want a "khichdi" government, a weak government and so that they could take turns to realise their dreams of becoming prime minister. The SP-BSP alliance, he said, would fall apart after its "expiry date" (counting day).
Ms Banerjee asked about PM Modi's labelling of the opposition as "khichri" while speaking to NDTV on Monday, questioned what's wrong with khichri; "you can have rice, dal or potato curry also. It is put together in khichri".
Another term used by BJP leaders for the UP gathbandhan is 'Mahamilavat' or 'grand adulteration', oft repeated by the prime minister at his rallies.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav today responded to this: "They are calling our alliance as Mahamilavat. This is an alliance of maha-parivartan (mega change). This alliance is a confluence of two ideologies".
UP -- a state that sends the largest number of lawmakers to the parliament -- is key battleground in the 2019 general election, with a three-cornered contest among the BJP, UP gathbandhan and the Congress party. Voting in the state is spread across all seven phases of the elections.