Taking a jibe at BJP chief Amit Shah's claim that the saffron party will win 73-plus of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in 2019, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said on Monday the BJP was saying this as the shaping up of opposition unity had frightened it.
"Samajwadi people are ready (for the Lok Sabha elections). What is our strategy, we will not disclose. But its implementation has begun and see their condition," Mr Yadav told reporters in Lucknow.
"They are saying they will win 73-plus seats," he said. "Forget 73-plus, you have just lost three seats in bye-elections," Mr Yadav, a former UP chief minister, said. He said the BJP should first correct its arithmetic.
The SP chief was distributing laptops to meritorious students at the party headquarters in Lucknow.
To a question on the possibility of a SP-BSP alliance, he said, "Big interviews about this tie-up are appearing in newspapers. A 'Mahagathbandhan' will be formed. It is there and will stay in the future too. As far as UP is concerned, an alliance will be here also."
Earlier, on August 5, BJP president Amit Shah while addressing a gathering in Chandauli had claimed that the opposition was "spreading the rumour about the impact on the poll equation in UP if the SP and the BSP come together."
"Even if Bua (BSP chief Mayawati), bhatija (Yadav) and Rahul (Gandhi) join hands, our tally (in Lok Sabha from UP) will be 74 instead of 73 now and not even 72," he had said.
Mr Shah had exuded confidence that BJP and its allies will perform better than 2014 when they wrested 73 of the 80 seats in UP.
In an apparent response, Mr Yadav said on Monday that the people of the state had seen how the BJP had "deceived" the people and how it had "driven a wedge into different communities for political interest, how it triggered spread of hatred among people of different religions."
As the Lok Sabha elections are approaching, the BJP will forget issues like demonetisation, and rake up new issues like defence industrial corridor, Mr Yadav said. "When ordinary roads are not being made and permissions are not being given for construction of bridges, then how and when such a corridor will be built?" he asked.
Referring to the laptop distribution initiative, he said it was not a political stunt. Today, the laptop is a necessity for every child, so the SP during its regime distributed laptops, he said. We distributed then, and are doing it today as well," he added.