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Mudda panellists feel that opposition is getting together only to oust BJP, all parties are ready to work out a compromise formula

As the opposition momentum increases on the issue of a grand alliance for the 2019 polls, it remains to be seen whether or not it will be successful in posing a stiff challenge to the BJP. Akhilesh Yadav, stoked by recent bypoll successes after joining hands with Mayawati’s party, has made it clear that he wants to continue the alliance with his party’s long-time rival for the 2019 polls. BJP leaders say that since the opposition is not coming together on any particular mudda or issue, the alliance will fail even before the elections. APN’s popular debate Mudda took up the issue. Anchorperson Anant Tyagi posed the questions to panellists including BJP’s Ram Babu Dwivedi, Congress’s Omkar Nath, SP’s Manoj Yadav, political expert Atul Chandra, and APN consultant Govind Pant Raju.

Manoj Yadav said: “BJP will suffer massive losses in the 2019 polls. Akhilesh Yadav has already stated that he is ready to make any sacrifice to oust the BJP. A grand alliance is surely in the offing; and all parties are united on this issue.”

Omkar Nath said: “BJP has failed on all fronts. Its economic failures are for all to see.”

Dwivedi said: “Akhilesh is making tall claims. Who will be the leader of this grand alliance? Nothing like that is going to happen. We are sure to cleanse UP of SP and BSP.”

Raju said: “Akhilesh must have learnt a lot from his failures at the hustings. Akhilesh fought dearly with his father Mulayam on seats, and now he is saying he is ready to make a compromise with Mayawati on seat sharing. Perhaps he is changing his politics, and that’s nothing new for our political leaders.”

Yadav said:”Parties can make meaningful contribution even by remaining in the opposition. BJP can’t achieve anything by using social media alone. The common man has many questions for the BJP. Trinamool leader Mamata has already made it clear that parties will be looking into their strongholds while deciding seat-sharing.”

Omkar Nath said: “Stories against Akhilesh have been planted by the BJP in the media. There has been a campaign against him; stories like when he was told to vacate his bungalow, he took away the tiles and taps.”

Raju said:”So far, it looks like the biggest trigger for the grand alliance is to oust the BJP. But a lot of issues need to be ironed out. Mayawati’s political appeal is on the wane.  Of late, BSP has again come into prominence, because parties have been joining hands to stall BJP. The caste vote bank of Mayawati might prove crucial in coming days, as it can be transferred to the alliance against the BJP. In that sense Mayawati will be playing a lead role.”

Omkar Nath said: “Congress is an all-India party; the leader of the alliance will be the person that appeals to all. All parties are ready to work out a compromise formula.”

Dwivedi said:”The grand alliance has got nothing to do with development or the nation’s progress. It is just an opportunist move.”

Who will be the alliance’s leader, Anant wanted to know. Omkar Nath said: ”The alliance leader will emerge soon. The PM will be decided after poll results.”

Raju said: “Too many leaders stand out. Mayawati stands a good chance to be the next PM, in case the alliance comes to power. Rahul Gandhi has already stated that he will be the PM in case Congress wins; Akhilesh has also said so. The only reason for this grand alliance to come into being is to oust the BJP.”

Raju added that Akhilesh had indeed damaged the bungalow before vacating, because there were pictures in the media that made it all clear. “This is a big blot on Akhilesh’s image and character,” he added.

Yadav immediately said that this is not so. Omkar Nath said, “In case the bungalow was damaged, why was a report not presented?”

Atul Chandra said:”I am surprised that Omkar Nath is denying this bungalow incident. I agree with Raju that this incident shows the SP leader’s character in poor light.”

Yadav said:”This is a concerted campaign to malign us.”

Omkar Nath said: “Why aren’t the images viral? I would like to see the official report on this.”

Raju said: “I am surprised Omkar Nath has not seen these images. Should a CM be behaving in this manner? It is particularly objectionable, not a small matter at all.”

Yadav said: “It is said that Mulayam is a killer. Where is this FIR filed? People say a lot of things about those in public life; not everything is true.”

—Compiled by Niti Singh Bhandari

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