After Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday launched a blistering attack on the Congress, alleging anybody who does not act according to its wishes faces "persecution" through Central Bureau of Investigation.
Akhilesh claimed that the UPA will suffer heavily in the next Lok Sabha elections due to "widespread dissatisfaction" among the people of the country.
Talking to media persons in Allahabad on the sidelines of a function, Akhilesh however made it clear that the Samajwadi Party will "continue to support the UPA government to keep communal forces at bay" even as he asserted "we are fully prepared for the elections, whenever they take place".
Asked about the party supremo's statement that elections could take place as early as November this year, the UP CM said "political developments and media reports hint at such a possibility".
On Friday, Mulayam had told reporters, "The Congress used to take support by threatening. I supported the UPA government in bad times but Congress has put CBI after me."
To the BJP's charge that the SP, by supporting the UPA, was acting under pressure fearing CBI action against some of its top leaders, Akhilesh evaded a direct reply but said "it is a fact that anybody who does not act according to the wishes of the Congress party, faces persecution through CBI".
The UP CM also claimed that his party will "come out with its best-ever performance" in the Lok Sabha polls as "people will weigh our pro-people initiatives against the previous corrupt BSP regime in the state.
Besides, widespread dissatisfaction with the Centre will cost the Congress heavily across the country and in UP we will be the biggest gainers".
Without naming the Congress or the BJP, Akhilesh also said, "parties which struggled to get 5,000-10,000 votes in the Assembly polls in most of the constituencies will be able to win not more than 4-5 seats out of 80 in Lok Sabha elections".
He parried a question as to whether the SP will put pressure on the Congress to sack Union minister and friend-turned-foe of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Beni Prasad Verma, who has of late made a number of stinging remarks against SP.