Flagging ‘SP-BSP alliance’, Maya backs Akhilesh in mining probehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/flagging-sp-bsp-alliance-maya-backs-akhilesh-in-mining-probe-5527752/

Flagging ‘SP-BSP alliance’, Maya backs Akhilesh in mining probe

Inside Parliament, too, the former UP rivals brought the Opposition together on the issue despite the Congress insisting on attacking the government over the Rafale fighter deal.

BSP, SP leaders at Parliament House on Monday. (Express photo by Renuka Puri)

THEIR TIE-UP for the Lok Sabha polls is officially only at the “talks” stage, but BSP supremo Mayawati Monday gave a clear indication of where they were headed by using the words “SP-BSP alliance” for the first time in a statement through which she expressed support for SP chief Akhilesh Yadav whose alleged role in a mining scam has come on the CBI radar.

Mayawati revealed that she had called Akhilesh Sunday to tell him not to be intimidated by the BJP’s tactics.

Both the parties also came together outside Parliament Monday to slam the government for trying to “frame” Akhilesh in the mining case. Inside Parliament, too, the former UP rivals brought the Opposition together on the issue despite the Congress insisting on attacking the government over the Rafale fighter deal.

In her statement, Mayawati said: “On the day news of a direct meeting of the top leadership of SP-BSP came in the media, an exasperated BJP government gets CBI to conduct raids at many places in Uttar Pradesh in a pending case of mining and also deliberately spreads the news related to quizzing Akhilesh Yadav. If this is not an act to defame and harass the SP-BSP alliance as part of an election conspiracy and political vendetta, then what else is this?”

Mayawati and Akhilesh had met in Delhi last week and reportedly finalised seat-sharing arrangements for the Lok Sabha polls. However, SP MP Ram Gopal Yadav maintained during his joint press conference outside Parliament with Rajya Sabha colleague Satish Chandra Mishra of BSP that alliance talks are still on.

Two days ago, the CBI conducted raids at various locations across Delhi and UP in connection with a case of illegal mining, and hinted that Akhilesh’s alleged role could also be probed.
On Monday morning, during the Opposition strategy meeting to decide the Rajya Sabha floor strategy, the Congress’s attempts to push the Rafale issue failed with the two UP “allies” and others, including the TMC, coming together on the CBI move.

According to Opposition sources, the parties felt that the Rafale issue has been debated for a while now, even in the Lok Sabha, while the CBI raids were a recent development that needed to be flagged with the elections nearing and the session ending.

Mayawati alleged that like the Congress, the BJP too is adept at “framing” opponents in fake cases by misusing government machinery. “When BSP denied… 60 of 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP to BJP, they framed me in the Taj (corridor) case. Following which I had resigned as Chief Minister on August 26, 2003, considering the interests of BSP movement. But people took revenge and formed BSP’s government with absolute majority in 2007 assembly elections,” her statement said.

UP has 80 Lok Sabha seats and in 2014, the BJP won 73 of them leaving the SP with five and the BSP none. Last year, the SP and the BSP, along with the RLD, had joined hands to defeat the BJP in bypolls to Lok Sabha seats in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana, and the Noorpur Assembly seat in UP.

SP’s Ramgopal Yadav, earlier, opened the press conference with Mishra by saying: “Tota khub bol raha hai (The parrot is making a lot of noise).” He was referring to the description of CBI as a “caged parrot” by the Supreme Court. Mishra described the mining probe as a “motivated case”.

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Congress president Rahul Gandhi refused to comment on the SP-BSP alliance amid speculation that his party has been left out.=