Two Indian Opposition Parties Unite to Challenge PM Narendra Modi
Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party announce their alliance ahead of India’s general election in spring.
Today’s press conference is one which will give sleepless nights to Modi and the ruling BJP party chief, Amit Shah. Kumari Mayawati Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader
Aformidable opposition, a coalition of the regional Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), has been announced by the leaders of the two parties to challenge Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the general elections due in a few months.
India’s politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to the lower house of parliament and has produced nine prime ministers.
At a news conference in state capital Lucknow on Saturday, the SP headed by the young satrap, Akhilesh Yadav, and the BSP led by Dalit (lowest Hindu caste) leader Kumari Mayawati announced they are entering into an alliance where they will contest 76 seats as a team. “Today’s press conference is one which will give sleepless nights to Modi and the ruling BJP party chief, Amit Shah,” the BSP chief said.
Mayawati, former chief minister of the state and an icon to millions of Dalits, described this as a “new political revolution in the country”.
India’s lower castes, especially the Dalits, face continued social discrimination and even untouchability, despite the practice being outlawed by parliament in 1955. Both Yadav and Mayawati took digs at Modi repeatedly.
“To hide their failures, the ruling BJP has actively spread an atmosphere of fear and terror by fuelling enmity among different communities... We have decided to come together today to fight the injustice perpetrated by the BJP,” Yadav, also a former chief minister of the state, said.
SP and BSP have a large support base of lower castes and are in a position to be able to manipulate the social arithmetic of elections in the state. Some analysts say it is a “killer-alliance”.
SP leader Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati criticised Prime Minister Modi during a press conference in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
PM Narendra Modi.