Tikamgarh (Madhya Pradesh) | Samajwadi Party (SP) chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, took a swipe at both the Congress and the BJP, accusing them of misusing central probe agencies such as the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Opposition leaders when in power.
Speaking to reporters at Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday, the SP chief said, "The BJP is doing what the Congress did when in power. They both used central agencies such as the ED and CBI against the Opposition. However, just as the Congress lost power and its hold on the country weakened, the BJP will, too."
On the rift with the Congress after the breakdown in seat-sharing talks for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, the former UP chief minister said, "Perhaps, I was mistaken in thinking that the Opposition alliance was the upcoming state elections as well. However, it seems the Congress does not want to fight as an ally in these elections. As far as our party (SP) is concerned, I am confident that the people of Madhya Pradesh will support us and we will win more seats than we did the last time."
Also taking a swipe at the Congress over its promise of a caste census in several poll-bound states, the SP chief, "It is the Congress that put obstacles to holding a caste-based census. They were the ones who created hindrances in the implementation of the recommendations of the Mandal Commission and for them to talk about caste census now is laughable. Even the BJP, which has always stood against reservations, is talking about it now."
SP and Congress are partners in the Opposition bloc -- the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).
Earlier, on Friday, the SP chief fired a stinging barb at the Congress, accusing it of betraying INDIA.
Addressing media persons on a visit to Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh on Friday, the former UP CM said, "The people of Madhya Pradesh have been following the recent events closely and are now aware that if anyone has betrayed the alliance, it is the Congress. However, further discussions on taking the alliance forward will be held ahead of the Lok Sabha elections."
"The power of PDA (Pichhde, Dalit, Alpsankhyak) will prevail over the NDA," the SP chief added.
The strained partners in the INDIA bloc have been at loggerheads following the breakdown in seat-sharing talks, with Akhilesh firing the "Chirkut" (small-timer) jibe at Congress' state unit chief Ajay Rai.
Upset over the Congress's alleged seat snub to the SP ahead of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, Akhilesh said, "I want to tell the Congress, don't let your Chirkut leaders talk about us."
He added that he was clueless if the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) was meant to take on the BJP at the national or state level.
"If Congress didn't want to give us seats (in MP), they could have said it before. We have decided to go it alone in Madhya Pradesh. After (the breakdown in seat-sharing talks in) Madhya Pradesh, I have come to realise that INDIA is meant only for the general elections. But if Congress continues to behave like this, then who will stand with them? If we fight against the BJP with such confusion and doubts in our minds (around the alliance), we will never succeed," he added.
The Congress's UP chief, Ajay Rai, earlier asked the SP to withdraw from the MP polls, saying that they don't have any base in the state to make an impact in the elections.
"If you (Akhilesh Yadav) are a part of INDIA, you have to see how individual parties are placed in different states. In Madhya Pradesh, the fight is between the BJP and the Congress and the SP should support us instead of contesting the polls. They only had a single MLA in Madhya Pradesh, who later switched over to the BJP."
Further opening up cracks in the Opposition alliance, Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal-United (JDU) chief, Nitish Kumar, on Thursday said the Congress was "busy with the state assembly elections" in five states and not very keen on taking the INDIA bloc forward.
Kumar's JDU is also a partner in the INDIA bloc.
Addressing the Communist Party of India's (CPI) 'BJP Hatao, Desh Bachao' rally in Patna, the Bihar CM said, "Yes, we constituted an alliance but the work to strengthen it is not happening right now. It seems the Congress is more interested in fighting the upcoming state elections than taking the alliance forward. We all were working together to help strengthen the Congress and our alliance but they don't seem to be too keen on it. They are busy with the assembly polls now."
Nitish asserted, however, that the bloc won't stop fighting for the country and the coalition meetings will resume once the elections in five states are over.
Meanwhile, targetting INDIA, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, "The INDI-alliance seems to be coming apart before it could be taken forward. Now, Nitish Kumar has also said the Congress does not care for its partners in the bloc. As we have seen many times over, the Congress only cares about themselves and the (Gandhi) family. Sonia Gandhi is only busy promoting her son (Rahul Gandhi) and daughter (Priyanka Gandhi Vadra)."
Madhya Pradesh is set to poll for its 230-member Assembly in a single phase on November 17 and the counting of votes will take place on December 3.