What’s behind Akhilesh Yadav’s chilly shoulder to Congress? And what it means for Bharat Jodo in 2024


By Tirtho Banerjee: “BJP and Congress each are the identical,” stated Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Social gathering (SP) president, on December 29, whereas including, “the ideology of our social gathering is completely different”.

He was responding to a query from a reporter about whether or not he was invited to the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra of the Congress social gathering, which enters Uttar Pradesh by way of the Loni border in Ghaziabad on Tuesday.

Initially, Akhilesh denied being invited regardless that the Congress stated each Opposition social gathering was despatched an invite. Akhilesh then stated: “Our needs are with the Yatra, however we’ve not obtained any invitation. Our social gathering’s ideas are completely different. The BJP and the Congress — each are the identical.”

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Nevertheless, on Monday, in a letter to Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh acknowledged, “Thanks for the invitation to the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. Finest needs for the success of the Yatra. India is greater than only a geographical expanse, it’s united by optimistic parts of affection, non-violence, compassion, cooperation and concord. Hope this yatra achieves its objective of preserving this inclusive tradition of our nation.”

Nevertheless, his stand stays the identical. “Akhilesh is not going to take part within the yatra and there may be nil chance of another chief of the social gathering going there,” Samajwadi Social gathering chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary identified.

In a tweet, Bahujan Samaj Social gathering (BSP) chief Mayawati additionally stated: “Finest needs for the Bharat Jodo Yatra, and because of Rahul Gandhi for the letter written by him to affix the yatra.”

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Akhilesh’s pithy comment calling BJP and Congress the identical speaks volumes about SP’s reluctance to strike an alliance with the Congress within the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This is similar SP which had bailed out the ruling UPA authorities, when the Left had withdrawn its help following discord over the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008. This is similar SP which patched up with the Congress in 2012 and launched the ‘Do Ladke’ marketing campaign with Rahul and Akhilesh in 2017.

So, why is Akhilesh not eager on teaming up with the Congress now? The reply lies within the 2017 coalition expertise with the grand previous social gathering. It was not a pleasing one, to say the least. And Akhilesh appears to be smarting from the blow he acquired 5 years again and has a hidden grudge towards the Congress for the loss his social gathering suffered.

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The SP tied up with Congress to maintain the BJP at bay in UP. The ruling SP gave 105 seats to Congress. The ruling social gathering was assured that its deal will repay, however it didn’t. The social gathering’s confidence was shattered when the BJP and its alliance gained 324 seats and the SP-Congress needed to settle with simply 47 seats. Akhilesh’s “kam bolta hai” slogan needed to chew the mud. All events obtained swept away by the “Modi storm”, and regardless that Mayawati cried foul and alleged “EVM tampering”, Yogi Adityanath ushered in a brand new period.

The SP has not been in a position to come to phrases with the 2017 debacle, and it retains attacking its earlier ally at frequent intervals.

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In 2021, the previous UP CM made a remark which indicated that the SP chief had realized that the Congress lacked energy in UP and even when he groups up with Congress once more, it gained’t serve the final word goal: throwing the BJP out of energy.

In November 2018, at a rally in Chhattisgarh as he was speaking about demonetization, he had alleged that the Congress was additionally liable for siphoning off public cash. Congress, throughout their rule, had additionally supplied cash to financial institution mortgage defaulters who later fled India. The social gathering had additionally termed the CBI a “persecution software” within the arms of Congress in 2013.

In December the identical 12 months, the SP gave out a transparent sign that it gained’t tie up with Congress within the 2019 basic elections. The pretext Akhilesh took was that the Congress had not given his SP a ministerial berth within the Madhya Pradesh Cupboard, regardless that the Congress fashioned the federal government there with help from the SP and BSP.

He had then stated, “Due to the Congress, they didn’t make our legislator a minister. By doing so, the Congress has cleared the trail for Uttar Pradesh.” This signalled that the SP had no plans to regroup with the Congress in 2019.

The actual fact is that Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi have private rapport with Akhilesh. However in the case of political equations, the fissures begin to floor. After 2017, Akhilesh began distancing himself from the Gandhis. Together with his eyes on the minorities (Muslims) and Yadav vote financial institution within the 2024 basic polls, Akhilesh doesn’t need to give the Congress a possibility to make inroads into SP’s help base.

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The BJP had consolidated its place by 2019. The SP and BSP – whose ideologies have been poles aside and have been seen as bitter adversaries – obtained right into a partnership for the Lok Sabha polls. As soon as once more, Akhilesh sounded upbeat about defeating the saffron social gathering.

And as soon as once more, he met with disappointment. The BJP romped house with 62 seats, whereas the BSP bagged 10 and SP 5. Though the BJP’s vote share went down as in comparison with 2014, it defied the problem put up by the Mahagathbandhan.
This time, the SP may discover no scapegoat for the defeat. The interior rift in SP and its ambiguity within the ballot agenda clearly took a toll on the social gathering’s efficiency.

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UP is a decisive battlefield, as a result of there are 80 Lok Sabha constituencies within the largest state of the nation. And Congress is making an attempt arduous to regain the misplaced floor in UP. Via Bharat Jodo, it wished to carry the 2 key gamers on the identical platform and woo them.

On Monday, Rahul stated, “The SP doesn’t have a nationwide framework. They’ve a positioning in UP, which they should defend, and for that, Akhilesh Yadav could not come to the Bharat Jodo Yatra. However the beliefs of SP is not going to work in Kerala, Karnataka and Bihar. Congress’ work is to offer a nationwide framework to the opposition.”

He additionally stated: “There’s a connection of Congress with BSP chief Mayawati within the journey towards hatred. Bharat Jodo Yatra is open to all. Mayawati and leaders of different opposition events need ‘mohabbat ka Hindustan’. There’s some relation of ideology between us.”

Though the Congress prolonged its hand, there are not any takers for it. And subsequently, a joint opposition entrance seems unlikely in UP.

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Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Social gathering (AAP) is the one BJP challenger that is increasing. It took on the saffron social gathering within the current Municipal Company of Delhi (MCD) elections and wrested management from it by ending the 15-year rule of BJP within the civic physique. Nevertheless, the Lok Sabha elections are a distinct ball sport altogether. The AAP is at present the ruling social gathering in Delhi and Punjab. It contested within the Gujarat Meeting polls too and opened its account in Goa as effectively.

However the AAP does not appear to get together with the Congress, similar to SP, and has dominated out any alliance with any social gathering within the basic elections.

Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) is the third largest social gathering after BJP and Congress in Parliament with 23 members within the Lok Sabha, however it’s largely confined to Bengal. The social gathering has been making an attempt to increase in Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, Goa and Manipur. The TMC is eager to strike an alliance with regional events, that are towards the BJP. Mamata has usually been touted as main the opposition pack.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has plans up his sleeves. He has of late been hinting at passing on the CM’s baton to his deputy Tejashawi Yadav, who’s the RJD chief. Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) is making an attempt to woo splinter teams within the North East. The social gathering does not appear to be eager to tie up with TMC or another main social gathering within the North East. In such a scenario, it’s unsure the way it will eat into the votes of the BJP-led alliance in a few of these states.

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On Sunday, Rahul Gandhi stated the BJP will discover it very troublesome to win the 2024 elections as there’s a “large undercurrent” towards the social gathering. He added the opposition must coordinate effectively and current an “different imaginative and prescient” for the nation to use the favored temper.

He additionally has, again and again, stated that solely Congress can present a “central ideological framework”. Rahul has been harping on mutual respect between like-minded events. However forging a unity amongst opposition events that is devoid of merely a tactical alliance — is crucial. Nevertheless, with widening wedges, it seems extra like a chimera.

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