UP 'mahagathbandhan' efforts hit as Cong, BSP skip Akhilesh meeting

UP 'mahagathbandhan' efforts hit as Cong, BSP skip Akhilesh meeting

UP 'mahagathbandhan' efforts hit as Cong, BSP skip Akhilesh meeting

Samajwadi Party's attempt to form a grand alliance of the Opposition parties to counter the BJP in the forthcoming Lok Sabha bypolls at Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituencies suffered a setback as Congress and BSP skipped a crucial meeting convened by SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday.

Akhilesh had invited all the Opposition parties to formulate their strategy on the issue of EVMs and unitedly demand use of ballot papers in the two LS constituencies. Sources in the SP said that the issue of fielding an united Opposition candidate against BJP was also on the agenda.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Left parties and some other smaller outfits attended the meeting and supported the demand for using ballot papers instead of   EVMs.

SP leaders, however, claimed that the Congress had sent a letter conveying its support to the demand.

Crucial for BJP

Sources said that SP was likely to nominate   candidates for both the seats where bypolls could be held in the next couple of months. The two seats were crucial for the BJP as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath represented Gorakhpur and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya represented Phulpur before resigning.

While BSP was not likely to put up its candidate in the bypolls, it was not clear if the Congress would follow suit. Akhilesh has been trying to form a grand alliance of the Opposition parties to counter BJP in the state in the next general elections in 2019.

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