Akhilesh meets AAP, Apna Dal (K) leaders
Lucknow: A day after meeting Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Chaudhary, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday held talks with AAP leader Sanjay Singh and Apna Dal (K) chief Krishna Patel in the run-up to the 2022 Assembly polls.
In another development, following her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was ready to extend help Akhilesh for next year's Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, if required.
"If Akhilesh wants, then we are ready to extend our help to him," Banerjee was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Meanwhile, after the separate meetings, Patel said a tie-up with the SP has been finalised while Singh indicated that the talks have begun.
"A strategic discussion (rannitik charcha) was held on the common agenda to make UP corruption-free and get rid of the government under which law and order collapsed," Singh, who is the Aam Aadmi Party in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, told reporters here.
About an alliance with the SP, Singh said the discussion has just begun. "A good meaningful discussion was held. We will let you know later."
The AAP leader has met Akhilesh Yadav earlier as well but said then that his party will contest the UP elections alone.
Singh was also present on Tuesday at an event to release a book by SP leader Ramgopal Yadav. SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav were there.
On Wednesday, Akhilesh also met Apna Dal (K) chief Krishna Patel and both apparently agreed to address joint public meetings.
"We had a discussion with Akhilesh ji and our alliance has been finalised. We are allying with parties of the same ideology and we will soon be sharing the dais," Patel told reporters.
When questioned on a seat-sharing arrangement, she said this was not a priority while hinting that her party might pitch for 20 to 25 seats in the elections in 403 constituencies.
"Our priority was to move ahead with others and today our alliance has been finalised," she said.
"There were no discussions on the number of seats during the meeting. Discussions are going on at many seats. We will have 20-25 seats," she added.
The Apna Dal (Sonelal) led by Krishna Patel's daughter Anupriya Patel is already an ally of the ruling BJP.
Anupriya Patel's party has nine MLAs in UP and three MPs, including herself, but the faction headed by the mother has no elected representative either at the Centre or in the state.
A tie-up with the Krishna Patel faction could be seen as part of the SP efforts to divide the Kurmi votes in the crucial poll battle.
Arvind Kejriwal's AAP also doesn't have any MP or MLA in Uttar Pradesh. But as part of its efforts to expand beyond Delhi, the AAP has been preparing to fight elections in UP along with some other states.
Akhilesh had met RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary a day earlier to discuss seat-sharing for the upcoming polls.