- "I want the Prime Minister to be from Uttar Pradesh": Akhilesh Yadav
- Mr Yadav, however, declined to spell out his support
- There is still a lot of time to go for this election, he said
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, whose unexpected chemistry with Mayawati has made for a very stable alliance in Uttar Pradesh, has indicated that he would stand by her if she makes a bid for the top job. The mercurial leader of Bahujan Samaj Party today gave the clearest hint of her Prime Ministerial ambition, saying she "may have to" contest the Lok Sabha election from Uttar Pradesh's Ambedkar Nagar "if all goes well".
Asked if he would like Mayawati to be the Prime Minister, Akhilesh Yadav told NDTV's Prannoy Roy, "See, everyone knows where I stand. I want the Prime Minister to be from Uttar Pradesh. While it could be from any part of the country, still, I'd prefer UP."
Pointed out that Varanasi-- the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- is also part of Uttar Pradesh, he said, "It shouldn't be the Benaras people... He has greatly harmed the country".
Mr Yadav, however, refused to spell out his support. "It will be decided on the 23rd," he said, indicating the date the results will be declared.
There is still a lot of time to go for this election, he said. "I'm worried about what game the BJP would play," he added, citing PM Modi's recent allegation that the Samajwadi Paty was in league with the Congress to work against Mayawati.
The Prime Minister's plan, had however, backfired, with Mayawati sending out a strong message of support to both parties and one to her workers. "I am confident that every single vote from our gathbandhan, under any condition, will go to the two Congress leaders (from Amethi and Raebareli)," she said.
Asked about his chances for the post of the Prime Minister, Mr Yadav brushed it off, saying he has "no such dreams".
The Samajwadi chief, however, made it clear that he expected the alliance to do extremely well. While he would not commit to a figure, he said if their performance went as well as expected, the BJP would be down to a single-digit score.
In the 2014 general elections, the BJP and its allies had won 72 seats in Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 lawmakers -- the highest among states -- to the Lok Sabha.
In the 2017 assembly elections, the BJP had stormed to power in the state, sweeping out Mr Yadav's Samajwadi Party.
The BJP had won 312 of the 403 assembly seats. The Samajwadi Party had won 47 seats -- a slide of 177 -- its then ally Congress won seven, and 18 seats had gone to Mayawati.