New SP-BSP alliance increases pressure on India’s ruling party Jan 13, 2019 0 265 12345 AFPLucknowTwo regional parties that were former bitter rivals announced an unlikely alliance Saturday to fight Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party in a looming general election.The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) -- key players in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh -- said they would set aside their differences to jointly fight Modi in the bedrock state.The two central-left parties have widespread support among lower castes and poor voters across the state–India’s most populous, with 220 million people.Uttar Pradesh is a bellwether of national politics, accounting for 80 of the 552 members of parliament in New Delhi. An election is expected to be held in April and May and one recent poll indicated Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may fall short of a majority.Akhilesh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party head, said the alliance would counter the “divisive politics” of the BJP, which won a landslide victory in 2014.“The BJP is dividing the country, it is stoking fear and hatred among communities,” Yadav told a news conference sat alongside Mayawati, a popular low-caste leader who heads the BSP.The parties, which will contest 38 seats each out of the state’s 80, left the main opposition Congress party out of the alliance. The two have been fierce rivals in recent years. They teamed up in 1993 and formed the Uttar Pradesh state government but relations soured after Mayawati said she was assaulted by Samajwadi Party activists in 1995.Modi’s BJP suffered a rare reverse when it lost three key state elections to Congress last month, amid discontent over unemployment and economic inequality.A BJP spokesman played down the importance of the alliance. “We are confident. Even if all the parties come together, we will still win,” Sudhanshu Trivedi told reporters in Delhi where the BJP is holding a key convention. RELATED ARTICLES Kerala tops list with 5 out of 10 tourist spots in India Jan 13, 2019 0 352 India rejects Pakistani claim over Chinese mission attack Jan 13, 2019 0 307 Modi makes strong pitch for re-election, takes aim at oppn Jan 13, 2019 0 279 Tripura shutdown cripples life in tribal areas Agartala: A 12-hour shutdown, called by six tribal parties in the tribal areas of Tripura to protest police firing earlier this week injuring six youths agitating against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, crippled .. Delhi air ‘severe’, only rain could bring relief New Delhi: The air in Delhi-NCR turned ‘severe’ on Saturday due to calm winds and high humidity, authorities said, adding only rain could improve the situation to some extent. The overall air quality index (AQI) of Delhi .. Nigeria’s chief justice facing assets charges: Code of Conduct Court Abuja: -Nigeria’s most senior judge has been charged with failing to declare his assets, the Code of Conduct Tribunal said on Saturday. Tribunal spokesman Ibraheem Al-Hassan said the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter .. Many feared dead after tanker blast in southeast Nigeria Warri: Nigerian police on Saturday said many people were feared dead after a petrol tanker veered off the road, caught fire and exploded as people tried to recover fuel. The vehicle crashed in the Odukpani area of the .. ANC kicks off S Africa poll campaign with vow to restore democracy Durban: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday launched the ANC’s campaign for legislative elections in May, acknowledging the party’s past mistakes and promising to restore democratic institutions .. Pro-Kabila camp wins DRC legislative poll; recount sought for presidency Kinshasa: Parties supporting outgoing Democratic Republic of Congo president Joseph Kabila won a majority in long-delayed legislative elections, according to a tally of results released Saturday, as the opposition .. 10% upper caste quota bill gets Indian president’s nod IANS New Delhi President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday approved a constitutional amendment that provides 10 per cent reservation to economically weaker general category people in education and government jobs. The .. 2019 polls will be fight between democracy, dictatorship: Cong IANS New Delhi The Congress on Saturday said that 2019 general election will be a fight between “dictatorship and democaracy” and between “empty sermons” of the ruling party and its own “impeccable” record of service ..