New Delhi: Speculations are rife of a Congress-BSP alliance for Haryana assembly polls after newly appointed leader of the Congress Legislature Party Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja reportedly met Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati in Lucknow late on Sunday night.
The move comes days after Mayawati, unhappy with the seat-sharing formula, called off the agreement with Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janata Party. Taking to Twitter, she had then said the party had decided to go it alone with all its strength and contest on all the seats.
The BSP has pockets of influence in the state and the Congress, by reaching out to Mayawati, has sought to stitch together the Jat-Jatav vote base. This was also evident in the party's choice of leadership for the state assembly polls, with the Congress nominating the Hooda-Sheilja duo to lead charge against an upbeat BJP.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, denied reports of a meeting, saying there was no question of joining hands with the BSP and the Congress would go it alone in the polls.
The BSP had snubbed the Congress in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections and joined hands with Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. The alliance contested on 38 seats each in Uttar Pradesh but was steamrolled by the BJP, which swept to power with a historic mandate.
Then Congress president Rahul Gandhi had criticised the move, saying the SP-BSP alliance had “underestimated” the grand old party. Gandhi had said the party may spring a surprise or two in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh "about what the party is capable of doing and to mobilise people”.
In Haryana, while the main opposition — the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) — has been reduced to a minority as most of its legislators and leaders have joined the BJP, infighting continues to dog the Congress, which ruled the state for two consecutive terms till 2014.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday visited the state and sounded the poll bugle, praising the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government for fighting corruption and nepotism.