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Samajwadi Party, BSP may join hands against BJP in Lok Sabha elections: Lalu

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-07-2017 Anuja

New Delhi: Renewing the call for a united opposition against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad on Wednesday said there was a strong possibility of both Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) coming together for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Leading the charge against the BJP, the RJD has organized a public meeting in Patna on 27 August to bring leaders of prominent opposition parties together on one stage.

Interestingly, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United), an ally of the RJD, is unsure of attending the public meeting.

“If Mayawati and Akhilesh come together, which is a big possibility, then the match is over. The 2019 match is over. Now, everyone is feeling that. Everyone is working as per their own strategy, whether it is Mayawati, Akhilesh, Robert Vadra, Priyanka (Gandhi), (Arvind) Kejriwal, Lalu Yadav or his children, Mamata (Banerjee). They (BJP) want to bring us down and break us. This is because they know our strength very well. If we come together, their dream will remain a dream in 2019,” Lalu told party workers at a function in Patna.

In the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, both SP and BSP lost ground to the BJP, which returned to power in the state after nearly 15 years. Uttar Pradesh is a key state in national politics as it sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha.

Lalu’s statement is significant because he has, particularly since the Uttar Pradesh polls, constantly spoken about the need for greater opposition unity which should include the BSP and the SP.

The former Bihar chief minister has often cited the example of himself and Nitish Kumar coming together to fight the 2015 Bihar elections, overcoming a history of rivalry. Lalu is of the view that a joint opposition is the need of the hour to take on a resurgent BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 general elections.

Lalu was at the forefront of efforts to get the opposition parties together ahead of the presidential polls. In fact, when Nitish Kumar broke ranks to support National Democratic Alliance’s candidate, Ram Nath Kovind, the RJD chief made his disappointment clear and said he would try to convince Nitish to change his decision.

Lalu has tried to forge opposition unity on several other issues as well, including protests against demonetization.

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