Attacks from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh spiralling, a joint counter came today from Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. While Mayawati, in a tacit message to her party, said every alliance vote will go to the Congress in Amethi and Rae Bareli, Akhilesh Yadav spelled out what he considered the bottomline: "The alliance will decide who will form the government and be the Prime Minister."
Mr Yadav took a dig at the change in the BJP's approach. From the development plank of 2014, the BJP, since the terror attack in Pulwama and the subsequent air strikes of Balakot, has focused on national security and nationalism.
"The PM's language has changed because BJP is lagging behind in previous phases of elections. The BJP can see it no other way. They're not talking about development, farmers' income. PM just wants to mislead people," Akhilesh Yadav said.
The sudden turnaround on part of alliance leaders, who even last week were busy attacking the Congress, is a first.
Yesterday, PM Modi, had alleged that the Samajwadi Party was deceiving its alliance partner by entering a secret arrangement with the Congress. The trigger was a meeting in Rae Bareli, where Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had addressed the Samajwadi Party workers, seeking votes for her mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who is seeking a re-election from the seat.
Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, who set aside decades of rivalry to form an alliance, are seen as offering a big challenge to the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Since the alliance was announced, the BJP had taken regular jabs at it.
Even PM Modi had taunted that for "political gains", Mayawati was forgetting the attack on her by SP wokers in in June 1995, after she had ended her ruling alliance with the Samajwadi Party.
Yesterday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath predicted the alliance will fall apart once the poll results come out. 'Bua'' (Mayawati) will term ''babua'' (Akhilesh Yadav) the king of goons and ''babua'' will say that she is the very image of corruption," he had said.
"He (PM Modi) tried everything in his might to destroy the mahagathbandhan. In keeping with his phoot daalo, raj karo(divide and rule) strategy, he said several erroneous things at his election rally in Pratapgarh yesterday. He wants the SP-BSP-RLD to fight with each other," Mayawati said today.