Hours after the Centre announced its decision to honour former prime minister L K Advani with the Bharat Ratna, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday, 3 February said it is being done to ensure that the BJP’s votes do not get scattered.
Yadav was in Balrampur district to attend a programme to pay tributes to senior SP leader and MLA Shiv Pratap Yadav, who died on January 26.
“The BJP has given the honour before its tenure (at the Centre) comes to an end so that its votes do not get scattered,” Yadav told reporters in an apparent reference to Advani being conferred with the Bharat Ratna.
“This Bharat Ratna is being given to consolidate votes, it is not being given out of respect,” he said.
On seat-sharing in the opposition INDIA bloc, Yadav said there is almost a consensus on it.
“The basis for distribution of seats is ‘jeet’ (victory) and seat,” he said, adding that he has already talked to the Congress leadership and there is no dilemma regarding the distribution of seats.
Asked if he would join Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, the SP chief said he has not received any invitation so far.
On Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar joining the NDA, Yadav asked “which magic of the BJP” encouraged him to do so.
He said the issue of caste census will not be sidelined and the SP will take it forward.