In a first, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati held a joint press conference in Lucknow to announce their alliance ahead of 2019 General Elections. While addressing the press conference, Yadav told media persons that alliance between SP and BSP was necessary to defeat the arrogance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He also thanked Mayawati for accepting the coalition and advised party supporters to respect Mayawati as much as they respect him. "Samajwadi Party workers should keep in mind that BSP chief Mayawati Ji's disrespect will be my disrespect (Samajwadi Party ke karyakarta ek baat ki gaath bandh len ki adarniya Mayawati Ji ka apman mera apman hai)" the SP leader said.
Explaining the reason behind the alliance, Yadav said both the parties will contest elections together to fight against the communal hatred spread by the BJP. "To defeat the arrogance of the BJP, it was necessary for the BSP and the SP to come together. The BJP can go to any extent to create differences in our workers, we must be united and counter any such tactic," Yadav said.
Yadav also hinted at supporting Mayawati as a Prime Ministerial candidate. "Uttar Pradesh has produced numerous prime ministers in the past. You know whom I will support. I will be happy if another prime minister comes from the state," SP chief said when asked whether he will support Mayawati as a prime ministerial candidate if the need arises post-2019 Lok Sabha elections.
During the joint press conference, BSP chief Mayawati said, "The alliance will rob 'guru-chela' - Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah - of their sleep."
"I have full confidence that just as our alliance defeated the BJP in the Lok Sabha bypolls, we will crush the saffron party in the general elections," she said, referring to the BJP's defeat in Phulpur, Gorakhpur and Kairana parliamentary bypolls.
Speaking about keeping the Congress out of the alliance, Mayawati said that they have decided to leave the Congress out of the SP-BSP fold since there was no real gain by allying with the Grand Old Party in the past. "In the past, I have seen that our votes get transferred to the Congress, but not vice-versa. We do not gain from an alliance with Congress, whereas vote transfer is perfect in SP-BSP tie-up," Mayawati said.
Drawing a parallel between the BJP and the Congress, Mayawati said the Congress had imposed the Emergency while the BJP is responsible for an undeclared Emergency.
This would be the first time in 26 years that SP and BSP will fight the elections jointly. Last time, it happened in 1993, when Samajwadi Party veteran Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram came together.