The Congress "offer" of seven seats in Uttar Pradesh to the Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav alliance for next month's national election has provoked the classic brush-off - thanks but no thanks. "The Congress should not create confusion by forcibly trying to leave seven seats for the gathbandhan," Mayawati said in tweets this morning.
While ripping into the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader reiterated that her party would not tie up with the Congress either in Uttar Pradesh or any other part of the country.
"Congress is free to contest all 80 seats of UP, meaning our alliance is perfectly capable of defeating the BJP on its own," Mayawati said.
To drive her point home, she added: "BSP wants to make it clear one more time that along with Uttar Pradesh, in the entire country we have no understanding or alliance with the Congress at all. Our people should not fall into the trap of Congress's daily lies and attempts to create confusion."
Mayawati's ally and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, in a tweet, echoed: "The SP-BSP-RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh is capable of defeating the BJP. The Congress shouldn't create confusion."
The Congress on Sunday said it would not contest seven Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh either held or being contested by big leaders of the BSP-Samajwadi Party combine.
When Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav had announced their tie-up in January - leaving the Congress out of their anti-BJP gathbandhan - they had said that they would spare for the Congress its lone two seats, Amethi represented by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Raebareli held by his mother Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress yesterday "returned" the favour, adding more seats. The move signaled that the party hasn't given up on an understanding with the Samajwadi-BSP gathbandhan despite repeated snubs.
Though Mayawati has minced no words in rejecting the offer, these nine seats are the only ones that may not see three-cornered contests featuring the BJP, Congress and SP-BSP duo.
The opposition is worried that multi-cornered contests will only divide opposition votes and help the BJP, which won a whopping 71 seats in the 2014 election.
The Congress says it will skip seats like Mainpuri, from where Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav is contesting and Kannauj, where his daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav is expected to run, says senior Congress leader Raj Babbar. The Congress will also skip the seats of Rashtriya Lok Dal's Ajit Singh and Jayant Chaudhary and Mayawati.
In the spirit of alliances, the Congress also plans to give two more seats, Gonda and Pilibhit, to Apna Dal.
UP will vote in all seven rounds of the April-May national election.
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