Amid heightening tensions in the opposition INDIA bloc allies, the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) found themselves in an altercation after SP President Akhilesh Yadav criticised the Congress for having "cheated" on his party ahead of the assembly polls due next month in Madhya Pradesh.
Speaking to the media in Sitapur on 19 October, Yadav launched a scathing attack on the Congress, accusing them of 'betrayal' while also having a verbal spat with the Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Rai.
Yadav also clarified that he knows now that INDIA alliance is only meant for the national level elections. However, seeming quite peeved, Yadav warned that he will render a “tit-for-tat” response to the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, where the SP is the stronger player.
Yadav's 'Chirkut' Neta Remark
Yadav's while speaking to the media, said, "We are getting this information that the alliance is only at the Delhi level, so it is okay that it will be discussed when it comes to Delhi. There is no alliance at the state level, so we accepted this, hence declared our party's ticket. What's wrong in it?"
His sharp response came in reaction to when the reporters asked him about Rai's comments that if the Congress had fought Ghosi in UP, then SP might have lost the seat, as per ANI.
Referring to Ajay Rai, Yadav said, "He has no stature, he was not even in the Patna meeting, nor in the Mumbai meeting. What does he know about the INDIA bloc? I request Congress not to let their chirkut and chota leaders to make any remarks."
He stated that he was given an assurance of six seats but when the seats were announced, SP got zero.
Yadav, who attended an SP event related to the national polls in Sitapur, on Tuesday, 17 October said his party would contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2024 national elections.
If I had known on the first day that there is no alliance in India at the assembly level, then people of our party would never have gone to meet them (Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh), nor would we have ever given the list to the people of Congress.Akhilesh Yadav, SP chief
So far, the SP has named 31 candidates for the Madhya Pradesh polls.
'I Was Not Given Such Morals': Rai Responds
The UP Congress chief Ajay Rai while talking to the media, said that Yadav is talking about six seats, but he had already released list of candidates of seven seats even before joining INDIA.
I have been an MLA 5 times, have been an MP too, have contested against PM Modi, have also defeated BSP candidates, after all this, I'm still a 'chirkut' and 'chota' leader? I was not born with a golden spoon in my mouth, I was born in a common family, I'm a farmer's son. I was not given any such morals.Ajay Rai, UP Cong chief to The Quint
He continued that all he had said was that SP does not have any stronghold in Madhya Pradesh.
"In Uttarakhand, SP fielded a candidate in Bageshwar against ours and then our candidate lost it. We had a strong candidate there, Raj Mangal Yadav. But in national interest, we did not make him fight those polls. We gave support without being asked. After that Sudhakar Singh won that seat. In the areas of Ghosi, Semri and Kalpanat Rai, they got all the Bhumihar votes to Sudhakar Singh because of me," he pointed out.
In September, SP's Sudhakar Singh was declared winner in UP's Ghosi. He defeated BJP's candidate Dara Singh Chauhan by 42,759 votes.
Rai further told The Quint, "I only said that you have just one MLA in MP. Apart from him, they don't have a ground or standing there. They should support Congress and defeat BJP, maybe BJP feels bad about it. It was all after this that he used such insulting words against me."
Since its inception in 1992, the SP has been looking to expand outside Uttar Pradesh to become a national party. In 2003, SP registered its biggest success outside UP in MP when it won seven of the 161 seats it contested.
On Tuesday, 17 October, Rai had said that Congress does not rely on anyone’s "mercy", The Hindu reported. He added the Congress is strengthening its organisation on the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh for the 2024 general polls.
Meanwhile, Congress declared its list of 88 candidates in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday, hours after the SP declared its first list of nine candidates for the state. On 15 October, Congress had declared its first list of 144 candidates for MP.
On 20 October, SP announced its third list of two candidates for the upcoming MP assembly elections.
Voting for the 230 assembly seats in MP would take place on 17 November. The process for filing nominations would begin from 21 October.
(With inputs from Piyush Rai)