mayawati

Akhilesh on Tuesday announced that his party would contest all 11 Assembly bye-elections in the state after BSP chief Mayawati announced that her party has decided to contest these elections on its own following the poor performance of SP-BSP alliance in the recently held Lok Sabha elections.

Replying to the question on whether he expected such a decision by the BSP, he said, "It is difficult to say. The decision to part ways is also welcome and best wishes to the party workers."

Eleven Assembly constituencies have fallen vacant after sitting MLAs post winning Lok Sabha elections. Nine of them are from the BJP and one each from the BSP and the SP.

Riding high on Modi-wave, BJP bagged 62 seats in Uttar Pradesh while BSP and SP managed to bag only 10 and 5 seats, respectively. RLD drew a blank in the recently conducted polls.

The statement from the BSP came after reports of Mayawati holding meetings with opposition parties came to fore.

Mayawati was referring to the 1977 elections in which the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was defeated from Raebareli constituency.

The BSP leader served as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh four times, briefly in 1995 and 1997, then from 2002 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2012.

The BSP supremo also took a jibe at temple visits by politicians saying it has become a "fashion" for candidates contesting polls to offer prayers before elections.

Expressing shock over Mayawati's remarks, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: "Absolutely disappointing and shocking for her (Mayawati) to speak so ill about the Prime Minister and his personal life and women in the BJP."

"SP-BSP can't fight terrorism, these people can't even control roadside goons, how will they combat terrorism? Meanwhile, vote-cutter Congress' defence policy encourages terrorism and naxalism," said.