SP minister raises doubts on benefits of tie-up with Congress

Cracks appeared in the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) ahead of the Saturday vote count for the crucial state assembly elections, as a senior minister questioned the benefits of aligning with the Congress.

Senior SP leader and a minister in the Akhilesh Yadav cabinet, Ravidas Mehrotra, while questioning the SP-Congress alliance, stitched at the last moment before the polls, said SP would have won on its own and there was no need to have tied up with Congress. He also said that in the final outcome the Congress would have gained from the alliance and not the Samajwadi party.

While senior party leaders and workers have been questioning the tie-up right from the word go, it had so far been in private. Mehrotra is the first to have expressed his feelings openly in public.

In a related development, Urban Development Minister Mohd Adam Khan, said in case the SP lost at the hustings, the blame would not be of Akhilesh Yadav alone.

“Khuda na kare aisi naubat aaye, gar aisa hua to iski zimmedari sabki hoga aur ye nuksaan poore pradesh ka hoga (God forbid that such a result happens then the responsibility should be shared by all),” he told reporters.

Asked to comment on the recent interview of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s wife Sadhna Gupta, on the eve of the seventh phase, that Akhilesh should not have humiliated his father, Khan said it “could have been avoided”.

“At such a crucial hour, such statements should have been avoided,” he said as many party leaders said that Sadhna’s interview was aimed at hurting the party’s prospects in the seventh phase of polling in the Poorvanchal. SP contested the crucial assembly elections in alliance with the Congress which was given 105 seats and the remaining 298 were contested by it.

Votes for the 403 seats of the UP assembly will be counted at 75 counting centres across the state from 8 a.m. on Saturday.