Small parties in the Uttar Pradesh on Monday expressed mixed reactions over the tie-up between political arch rivals the SP and the BSP, with some hailing it as a "big challenge" and another dubbing it as an "opportunistic alliance". Even BJP ally, SBSP, whose president Om Prakash Rajbhar is also a minister in the Yogi government maintained that the SP-BSP combine would be a big challenge to the ruling party.
Hailing the SP-BSP alliance, the NISHAD (Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal) said it was very much part of this grand alliance. "We wanted that the two big parties to come together first and then we will get the seats we want to fight on our symbol from the SP. I have already spoken with Akhilesh (Yadav) ji and there is already an agreement with him (on seat sharing). In two-three days the situation will be clear," NISHAD Party chief Sanjay Nishad told PTI.
Reacting to the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party tie up in the state that has thrown open the contest in the state, Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) general secretary Arvind Rajbhar told PTI: "I think the alliance is a big challenge for the BJP." However, Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen, which is looking to make its Lok Sabha elections debut in the state this year, termed the alliance between the two bitter political rivals as an "opportunistic alliance". There was a possibility that the two parties or one of them could align with the BJP after the polls, AIMIM spokesperson Asim Waqar said.
Another small ally that has been with the opposition alliance in the past by-elections in UP -- Peace Party (PP) -- claimed that with the alliance, the BJP will not be able to win a single seat in the state. "I don't think the BJP will be able to win even one seat after this alliance. The by-election results have shown this. Gorakhpur, Noorpur, Phulpur Kairana, the SP, BSP Peace party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and Nishad Party were together. I believe that all these parties will fight the polls together," PP president Mohammed Ayub said.
"It was decided that the two big parties will first come to an agreement and then talks will take place with the small parties. There will be no problem in seat sharing. We are already with the mahagathbandhan," he said. Ayub also asserted that Congress' absence in the alliance will make no difference to the opposition alliance's fortunes in the state. Waqar also said the alliance is not against the BJP, but it is an "existential fight for themselves".
"They are not against the BJP, they just want to come back to power. I suspect that the manner in which the alliance has been done and the manner in which other parties have been ignored, that both of them or at least one of them could align with the BJP (post polls). This is an opportunistic alliance," Waqar said. Once arch-rivals the SP and the BSP announced Saturday their tie-up in the state for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, sharing 38 seats each and keeping the Congress out of the alliance. The parties, however, said they would not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi respectively. They also left two seats in the 80-member state assembly for smaller allies, without naming them. But there have been talks with Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal.
(With inputs from agencies.)