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Mulayam Singh

We are capable on our own: Mulayam Singh dismisses son’s alliance talk

Agencies: The friction between Mulayam Singh and his son Akhilesh — buried in the aftermath of the Samajwadi Party’s drubbing in the recent assembly elections – has come to the fore again over the suggestion of yet another alliance. On Sunday, the party veteran dismissed the suggestion that arch rival and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and his party can work together. “We are capable on our own,” was the terse response from the Yadav Senior when asked to comment on talks of a grand alliance against the BJP for 2019.

“There should be a grand alliance. We are in favour of it,” Mulayam’s son and the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had said on Saturday, barely 24 hours after Mayawati said her Bahujan Samaj Patry was ready to work with like-minded parties “to save democracy”.

The BSP, she said, had no reservations in taking the help of anti-BJP parties in its fight against EVM tampering and the BJP. “It is democracy which comes first… we have to keep democracy alive,” she told her party workers in Lucknow on Friday.

The Congress — which partnered the Samajwadi Party ahead of the elections and had been the cause of another flashpoint in the Yadav family — offered to mediate. “Congress would act as a bridge for SP and BSP,” senior party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said. “We have two years before the elections, we can make this alliance a great alliance,” he said.

The Left Front said there is a need to make common cause over people’s issues. “There is a possibility of stopping the BJP. And to stop them, there is need for the broadest possible people’s action for which all should come together,” asserted CPI leader D Raja, who, in recent times, has met Akhilesh Yadav, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Mr Raja admits that in many states “potential national allies” are bitter rivals in state. “There are difficulties in certain states like West Bengal or Tripura. But each party will have to do their own assessment and our assessments may even converge,” Mr Raja said. In Bengal and Tripura, the Left is bitterly opposed to Trinamool while in Kerala, Congress is the Left’s main electoral rival.

The BJP calls the idea of a grand alliance a non-starter. “Whether Akhilesh forms alliance or a grand alliance, he won’t be able to stop the BJP. People of the nation are with Prime Minister Modi and they want development,” said Keshav Prasad Maurya, the deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

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