Two political rivals in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh will form a alliance in a bid to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in national election scheduled for May, leaders of the parties said.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), both of whom command large support bases among Uttar Pradesh state's working class and are led by former chief ministers, will contest the election as a team, they said.
Uttar Pradesh is India's most populous state and accounts for about a sixth of all members of the parliament. Barring a couple of exceptions in the 1990s, the party winning the most number of seats there has historically helped form the federal government.
It is not clear how the seats will be allotted and what role the main opposition Congress party will have in the state, but SP's chief Akhilesh Yadav hinted that it will not have a significant role to play.
"We can give Congress two seats they have always held," Yadav told news channel NDTV, referring to constituencies from where Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi have contested in the past.