- Like BJP, Congress must help regional allies: Akhilesh Yadav
- Opposition unity has taken a backseat in Delhi, UP and West Bengal
- "Time has run out, difficult to come together," he added
The Congress must help other parties even if it is too late for alliances, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav told NDTV's Prannoy Roy today. The cracks in the opposition front over Delhi, Bengal and Uttar Pradesh in full view, Mr Yadav said the Congress should follow the example of the other "big party", the BJP, and "help" regional allies who are united at the national-level.
"The time has run out. It is difficult to come together. But the Congress is a big party. It must try to help the other political parties," Akhilesh Yadav told NDTV. "They must try to help Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. In Delhi they Arvind Kejriwal can fight and they must support them. In Uttar Pradesh, we have an alliance ready, they must support us," he added.
In all three states, the opposition unity has taken a backseat to deep-rooted hostilities. In Delhi, the state leaders of the Congress have said no to a tie-up Arvind Kejriwal. In Bengal, the Congress is partnering with the Left Front - the bitter rivals of the state's ruling Trinamool Congress. And in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati, upset over the failure of the seat sharing talks for Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, has shut the door to the Congress.
In all three states, the Congress is going it alone. Concerned about a split in anti-BJP votes, opposition leaders have asked Rahul to mend fences with Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee, but the Congress has not made much headway.
In Delhi, the Congress state unit has unanimously voted against an alliance with AAP - a situation the party is now trying to rectify by seeking feedback from its workers.
Over the last months, Mr Yadav had taken multiple digs at the Congress. The last was earlier this week - asked by reporters about the possibility of including the Congress in the alliance in Uttar Pradesh, he said the Congress was already a part of the alliance, "they have two seats". The two seats are Amethi of Rahul Gandhi and Rae Bareli of his mother Sonia Gandhi, which the alliance chose to skip as a gesture of courtesy.
Rahul Gandhi said the Congress would be contesting all 80 seats in the state. When he deployed sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and close aide Jyotiraditya Scindia to take charge of the party in eastern and western halves of the state, he had underscored that it was not a gesture of hostility.
"We have no enmity against Akhilesh and Mayawati. I respect Mayawati and Akhilesh and we are willing to cooperate. Our aim is to defeat the BJP," Mr Gandhi had said, then added, "No problem if they want to talk with us".