The Bahujan Samaj Party will go solo in the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand state polls, to be held early next year, party chief Mayawati tweeted this morning, refuting media reports that plans are afoot to tie up with Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM in the state.
Mayawati underlined that her party has only announced a political tie up with Shiromani Akali Dal for the Punjab polls, also to be held next year. The two parties have also finalised the seat-sharing agreement in the 117-member assembly: with SAD contesting on 97 seats and the BSP on 20.
"This news is being broadcast in a media news channel since yesterday that the AIMIM and BSP will fight the upcoming assembly elections in UP together. This news is completely false, misleading and baseless. There is not even an iota of truth in this and the BSP vehemently denies it.
"In this regard, it is again clarified that except Punjab, the BSP will not contest the UP and Uttarakhand state polls early next year in alliance with any party; meaning it will go it alone," Ms Mayawati tweeted.
Earlier this month, Ms Mayawati said Akhilesh Yadav was getting expelled and "ineffective" leaders from other parties to join his party after five MLAs suspended by the BSP last year met the Samajwadi Party chief.
Chastened by his failed collaborations with Mayawati and the Congress, Akhilesh Yadav, in an interview to NDTV earlier this week, ruled out any tie-up for the Uttar Pradesh election next year and said his party would join forces with like-minded smaller parties.
Mr Yadav, admitting that a few BSP leaders were in touch with him, said no to a "Bua-Bhatija" repeat act after his 2019 alliance with Mayawati's party flopped.
On the Congress, he said the party was too weak in UP to beat the BJP.
"We did not have a good experience with them in 2017 - we gave them over 100 seats but we could not win. The people of UP have rejected the Congress," said Mr Yadav.
The Congress managed to win just one seat out of 80 - Sonia Gandhi's Raebareli seat - in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Rahul Gandhi lost Amethi, a family pocket-borough, to BJP's Smiriti Irani.
Earlier, the much-touted coming together of Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi for the 2017 UP assembly polls did not really set the fireworks, with both parties coming a cropper.
Salman Khurshid, Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, has underscored that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is the "captain" in Uttar Pradesh and will lead the party.
"I hope that she will take a decision and let us know. As far as we are concerned she is the captain and she is leading us," Salman Khurshid said in an interview to news agency PTI.
The BJP, on its part, has set the political ball rolling with review meetings and key appointments ahead of the big election - seen as a primer for the next general elections.
Former bureaucrat AK Sharma, known to be among Prime Minister Narendra Modi's close aides, has been made the BJP's vice president in Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP will contest the Uttar Pradesh election under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister and Swatantra Dev Singh as state president, sources told NDTV earlier this month, rubbishing talk fuelled by a two-day review meeting in early June by national BJP leaders in UP's capital Lucknow.