- "They have the right to do what they want," said Rahul Gandhi
- Mr Gandhi said "it's on us" to strengthen Congress in Uttar Pradesh
- Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav said they won't ally with Congress in UP
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said he will not be disappointed about his party being overlooked in the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alliance in Uttar Pradesh as long as they succeed in overthrowing the BJP.
"They have taken a decision in Uttar Pradesh, and we will have to take our own decision too. The Congress has lots to offer to the people of Uttar Pradesh. I have tremendous respect for the leaders of the BSP and Samajwadi Party, and recognise that they have the right to do what they want. It's on us to strengthen the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh, and we will fight to our full capacity," he said at a media conference in Dubai.
"The Congress is efficiently forming political alliances in other states. I won't be disappointed about the BSP-Samajwadi Party alliance as long as the BJP does not come to power," Mr Gandhi said. "In a way, they have said some wrong things about the Congress, but we accept it. Because that's how we work."
Earlier in the day, BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav had confirmed that their alliance for the national election would not include the Congress because they didn't expect significant dividends from the party. For the Congress, which has pitched for a grand opposition alliance to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national election, this was an epic snub driven home by Mayawati's sharp words and Akhilesh Yadav's pointed silence.
Mayawati said it was "well known" that their alliance would not benefit from tying up with the Congress. "Past experience tells us that the Congress can't transfer votes to us. Maybe it's a conspiracy by the Congress to transfer votes to the BJP," she added.
Akhilesh Yadav had joined hands with the Congress for the Uttar Pradesh election in 2017, but the alliance - glamourised by posters of Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi as "UP ke ladke (UP boys)" - failed to sway voters and he lost power. Mayawati also said "the Congress and the BJP, both are guilty of corruption in defence deals", perhaps the unkindest cut at a time Rahul Gandhi has been relentlessly targeting PM Modi on the Rafale jet deal.