The very day the exit polls put BJP on top in Uttar Pradesh, an outgoing Samajwadi Party minister spoke out against the alliance with the Congress, saying the SP had to suffer because of it. Ravidas Mehrotra, family welfare minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government, has contested from Lucknow Central, where the Congress too fielded a candidate. The SP gave its symbol to Mehrotra, the Congress gave its own to Maroof Khan, and both carried their campaign through, although the Congress claimed had asked Maroof to withdraw.
Mehrotra alleged that Congress candidates contesting against SP candidates in some seats sabotaged the election even if it meant making things easier for other parties including BJP. Even Maroof has said two alliance candidates from the same seat might have helped BJP candidate Brijesh Pathak, who had joined the BJP after leaving the BSP just before the election.
“It is my personal opinion that we had to suffer because of the alliance,” Mehrotra said in Lucknow. “It might benefit Congress but it did not help the Samajwadi Party. Instead, Congress rebel candidates contesting seats given to the SP sabotaged the election.”
He said he feels that if the alliance had not taken place, the SP would have been capable of forming the government on its own again as the public, according to him, had made up its mind to give a second chance to Akhilesh as chief minister. He said the SP would have won more seats than it is going to. At the same time, however, Mehrotra maintained that he is confident that even in this scenario, Akhilesh would form the government again.
“Meri vyaktigat rai hai ki Congress se gathbandhan se nuksan hua,” said Ravidas. “Janata ka mood ban chuka tha Akhilesh ko chief minister banane ka.”
Asked about Mehrotra’s statement, Congress senior spokesperson Satyadev Tripathi said he did not believe it was a view shared by the alliance partner. “It is the personal opinion of an individual minister, who has been hurt because Congress leader Maroof Khan contested against him,” Tripathi said. “We do not regard his opinion as the opinion of the Samajwadi Party. The results will tell what succeeded and what failed.”
Asked about the exit polls, Tripathi said, “We do not believe in exit polls as they were proven wrong in the Bihar polls as well as the Delhi polls. It will be clear in two days.”