In the midst of escalating tensions between the Opposition’s INDIA alliance partners, the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP), regarding the breakdown of their alliance talks for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, SP President Akhilesh Yadav accused the Congress of deceiving his party.

Akhilesh made this statement shortly after UP Congress Chief Ajay Rai suggested that his party should withdraw from the MP elections in favor of the Congress since the SP had no substantial presence in the state. Rai also argued that the SP should unite with the Congress, an INDIA alliance partner, to confront the ruling BJP in MP.

Akhilesh responded in Sitapur, criticizing the Congress and Rai’s statements. He questioned Rai’s knowledge of the INDIA alliance and expressed that the Congress should not rely on their “small-time” leaders for comments about the SP.

Akhilesh also criticized the Congress’s MP leaders, Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh, accusing them of keeping SP leaders waiting until 1 am during their meeting for seat-sharing discussions. He implied that this indicated deceit and suggested collusion with the BJP, stating, “The Congress people are with BJP.”

Akhilesh claimed that the Congress had suggested allocating six seats to the SP, including its current seat.

He also warned that if the INDIA alliance only applies to national elections and not state polls, the SP will reciprocate during seat-sharing for the UP Lok Sabha elections.

Tensions between the two allies became apparent when the Congress announced candidates for four of the seven seats in MP, where the SP had already declared candidates. The SP responded by announcing nine candidates. Later, they released a list of 22 more candidates.

On Tuesday, Akhilesh called on the Congress to clarify its stance on the INDIA alliance and the scope of seat-sharing at the state or national level.

In response, Ajay Rai argued that the Congress is strong in Madhya Pradesh and urged the SP to support Congress as part of the INDIA alliance rather than contest seats in which they have no presence. He suggested waiting for the results of the state elections before making any decisions.

Rai also indicated that the Congress UP unit is preparing to contest all 80 parliamentary seats in the state for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. In response to the SP’s claim that the Congress didn’t offer them their sole MP seat, Rai pointed out that the MLA in question had later defected to the ruling BJP.

The SP’s position is that the Congress, with just one MP and two MLAs in UP, should support the SP in UP, where it is the BJP’s main rival.

In the 2017 UP polls, the SP and Congress contested in alliance, with both Akhilesh and Rahul Gandhi jointly campaigning for alliance candidates. In the recent Assembly bypolls, the Congress supported the SP in UP’s Ghosi constituency, which resulted in an SP victory over the BJP.

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