SP-BSP mulls fielding candidates in Amethi, Raebareli

SP-BSP mulls fielding candidates in Amethi, Raebareli

Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati. PTI file photo

Congress' star campaigner and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's surprise meeting with ailing SC leader Chandrashekhar alias Ravan at a hospital in Meerut, about 450 kilometre from here, on Wednesday, has not gone down well with BSP supremo Mayawati.

Mayawati was also upset with the Congress for fielding her former party leaders, who had recently joined the grand old party.

Former BSP MP Kaiserjahan has been fielded by the Congress from Sitapur seat.

An SP turncoat Rakesh Sachan was also given nomination by the Congress from Fatehpur.

Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati had a closed-door meeting here almost immediately after Priyanka left the hospital.

Although the SP leaders said that Akhilesh and Mayawati discussed electoral strategy, according to sources, the BSP supremo also discussed the possibility of putting up the alliance's candidates in Amethi and Raebareli, the Lok Sabha constituencies of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi respectively.

The alliance has left the two seats for the Congress and said that they will not field their nominees against Rahul and Sonia.

Sources said that Mayawati was "upset" with Priyanka-Chandrashekher meeting and felt that the Congress could try to use the SC leader to make a dent into her party's core vote bank.

Though Priyanka had said that no "political meaning" should be derived from the meeting, the BSP leaders claimed that the Congress had assured its support to Chandrashekhar if he contests from Nagina Lok Sabha seat, a Mayawati favourite.

They also claimed that Chandrashekhar— who is the president of Bheem Army, an SC outfit, wielded considerable influence over the community in and around Saharanpur— had pledged support to Imran Masood, the Congress candidate from Saharanpur Lok Sabha seat.

Some SP-BSP leaders felt that Priyanka's visit was part of a "pressure tactic" by the Congress to get itself included in the alliance.