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BSP supremo Mayawati clarified that the coalition will be limited to the upcoming bypolls only, to ensuring victory for the strongest non-BJP candidate.

Indicating the formation of a new grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh, the Bhaujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Sunday announced its decision to ally with arch rival Samajwadi Party in the Phulpur and Gorakhpur byelections – with an aim to gain back grounds lost to the dominant Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the 2017 Assembly elections in the state.

“Our workers want to eliminate BJP and that is why the members of BSP have decided to extend support and vote for SP candidate Nagendra Singh Patel in Phulpur by-poll,” said BSP zonal coordinator Ashok Gautam.

While SP supremo and former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is yet to announce a confirmation on the alliance, party spokesperson Pankhuri Pathak on Saturday shared a post on Twitter, indicating the possible collaboration of the two long-term rivals.

“BSP to Support @samajwadiparty in the LS By-Polls in Phulpur & Gorakhpur. Much awaited decision by Mayawati Ji . Looking forward to contesting together & creating a larger Bahujan secular alliance,” wrote Pathak.

However, stating that the coalition will be limited to the upcoming bypolls only, BSP supremo Mayawati said, “I want to clarify that BSP has not allied with any political party. All rumors about BSP and SP alliance in UP for 2019 Lok Sabha elections are false and baseless.”

Also clarifying that the understanding between the two parties is limited to ensuring victory for the strongest non-BJP candidate, Mayawati said, “We have spoken to SP and have decided that we will support their Lok Sabha candidate during voting and SP will support our Rajya Sabha candidate.”

Stating that they will not share the stage with SP counterparts, BSP leaders have said that they would mobilise their cadre separately to drum up the votes. On the other hands, sources close to the SP have stated that party chief Akhilesh Yadav is keen to return the favour and may back Mayawati as the joint opposition candidate for Rajya Sabha.

While the BJP has fielded Kaushalendra Singh Patel from Phulpur and Upendra Dutt Shukla from Gorakhpur against the SP’s Pravin Nishad and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel respectively, Congress fielded Sureetha Kareem as its candidate from Gorakhpur and Manish Mishra from Phulpur.

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