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Ceding to Mayawati’s Demands Would Have Given BJP a Walkover in Madhya Pradesh, Says Kamal Nath

The MP Congress chief did not rule out an alliance with the Samajwadi Party for the assembly elections. “I don’t think anything is off at the moment,” he said.

Marya Shakil | CNN-News18maryashakil

Updated:October 8, 2018, 10:45 AM IST
New Delhi: Days after Mayawati dented grand illusions of a pan-India alliance by deciding to go it alone in three state elections, Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath has placed the blame for the mahagathbandhan failing before it could take-off squarely on the shoulders of the BSP supremo.

In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18’s Marya Shakil, Nath said the two parties could have joined hands to defeat the BJP had the BSP made a “reasonable” seat sharing offer. “But asking for 50 seats and that too the seats where they got 2000-3000 votes (in previous election) was nothing but giving BJP a walkover,” he said.

He equated the BSP’s fortunes in Madhya Pradesh to those of his own party in Uttar Pradesh and said even Mayawati would not have accommodated the Congress had it asked for so many seats.

“At a 6.3% vote share (in MP), they wanted 50 seats. We are 6-odd percent in UP. Would the same proportion apply there? Some of the seats were just gifting it away to the BJP. That's why the alliance wasn't possible,” he clarified.

But political experts feel that by asserting its role as the dominant party in MP, as well as Chhattisgarh, the Congress may have hurt its own chances in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, as alliance with BSP and Samajwadi Party would be crucial in Uttar Pradesh.

Nath, however, is not worried. He said the state elections are very different from national elections, and hence, negotiations for alliances would take a different route.

“Let's be clear on that, interests are different. Objectives are different. In Madhya Pradesh, the objective is to defeat the BJP, whoever wants to join hands, we are willing to walk the extra mile. But I am not willing to have an alliance which only helps the BJP,” he said.

The nine-time Congress MP also believes that despite being spurned by the BSP, a gathbandhan for the assembly elections is still possible, regardless of the fact that SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said the Congress had made him wait “too long” and announced candidates for six seats in the state on Sunday.

He said that he has been in touch with the SP very recently and spoke to the Gondwana party as well. “I don’t think anything is off at the moment,” he said.

Seeking to reframe the alliance formula, Nath said that the parties should focus on arithmetic that can help defeat the BJP and not only on sharing of seats.

Rejecting contentions that the Congress’ tough stance on forming alliances would hurt it by making it a multi-corner contest, he expressed confidence that people would not waste their votes on also-rans.

| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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