‘BJP is di­vid­ing the coun­try, it is stok­ing fear and ha­tred among com­mu­ni­ties’

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Two re­gional par­ties that were for­mer bit­ter ri­vals an­nounced an un­likely al­liance on Satur­day to fight In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s rul­ing Hindu na­tion­al­ist party in a loom­ing gen­eral elec­tion.

The Sa­ma­jwadi Party (SP) and the Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party (BSP) - key play­ers in the north­ern state of Ut­tar Pradesh - said land­slide vic­tory in 2014.

“The BJP is di­vid­ing the coun­try, it is stok­ing fear and ha­tred among com­mu­ni­ties,” Ya­dav told a news con­fer­ence sat along­side Mayawati, a pop­u­lar low-caste leader who heads the BSP.

The par­ties, which will con­test 38 seats each out of the state’s 80, left the main opposition Congress party out of the al­liance.

The two have been fierce ri­vals in re­cent years. They teamed up in 1993 and formed the Ut­tar Pradesh state gov­ern­ment but re­la­tions soured after Mayawati said she was as­saulted by Sa­ma­jwadi Party ac­tivists in 1995.

Modi’s BJP suf­fered a rare re­verse when it lost three key state elections to Congress last month, amid dis­con­tent over unem­ploy­ment and eco­nomic in­equal­ity.

A BJP spokesman played down the im­por­tance of the al­liance.

“We are con­fi­dent. Even if all the par­ties come to­gether, we will still win,” Sudhanshu Trivedi told re­porters in Delhi where the BJP is hold­ing a key con­ven­tion.

Modi ral­lied 10,000 party work­ers at the con­ven­tion, dis­miss­ing crit­ics who say his poli­cies harm the poor.

“Dur­ing our time there has not been a sin­gle cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tion against us,” he said.

“We be­lieve in treat­ing ev­ery­one equally and tak­ing the coun­try on the path of de­vel­op­ment,” he added.


Sa­ma­jwadi Party pres­i­dent Akhilesh Ya­dav (right) and Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party leader Mayawati in Lucknow on Satur­day

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