Uttar Pradesh politician Mayawati today vowed that her party BSP or Bahujan Samaj Party would not tie-up with the Congress in "any state". The announcement came in a press statement after Mayawati's meeting with top BSP leaders this morning.
"In the meeting it was reiterated once again that the BSP will not go for any electoral understanding with the Congress in any state," said a BSP press statement.
"Mayawati said that the alliance between the BSP and Samajwadi Party is based on sincere intentions and mutual respect and in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, it is the first and perfect alliance that will cater to the need for social change and has the potential to defeat the BJP."
The press statement went on to claim that "many parties are eager to join hands with the BSP", but Mayawati would do nothing that would not be in the party's benefit just for narrow electoral gains.
Mayawati's statement drew a sharp retort from the Congress, with its Uttar Pradesh unit spokesperson saying, "We don't need her."
"She doesn't have even a single seat in Parliament. How can she decide if the Congress has to come on board or not? We are fighting the election alone and do not want an alliance. We don't need her," UP Congress spokesperson Rajiv Bakshi told news agency PTI.
As the BSP and Samajwadi Party buried their rivalry and formed an alliance to take on the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh in the April-May national election, Mayawati's firm veto kept the Congress out.
She said it was because it had been seen during past tie-ups that the Congress had failed to transfer its votes to the BSP. "We see no benefit from tying up with the Congress," she had said in January, announcing the alliance with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav by her side.
Akhilesh Yadav, who had tied up with the Congress for the 2017 UP polls - with disastrous results - stayed silent on the Congress.
The leaders announced that their parties would fight 38 seats each, leaving two seats for the Congress. Those are the Gandhi family strongholds of Amethi and Raebareli, the only two the Congress could manage in the 2014 election.
In his recent comments, Akhilesh Yadav has maintained the Congress is a part of the UP gatbandhan (alliance), and it had been given the two seats of the Gandhi family, Amethi and Raebareli.
Mayawati has been upset with the Congress since her failed talks with the party on an alliance before the Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan elections in December.
Denied the seats she wanted, the BSP leader and former chief minister opted out of her talks with the Congress, labelling the party, along with the BJP, as "Naagnath and Saapnath (snakes)".
With inputs from PTI