Taking swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party over reports that the Central Bureau of Investigation may quiz him in the illegal mining case, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday said that he may have to tell the probe agency details of his alliance with Mayawati.
Talking to reporters in Lucknow, he said he is ready to face the CBI, but people are also ready to answer the Bharatiya Janata Party.
"Now we have to tell the CBI as to how many seats we have distributed in the gathbandhan (alliance). I am happy that at least the BJP has shown its colours. Earlier, the Congress gave us the chance to meet the CBI, and this time it is the BJP, which has given us this opportunity," Yadav said.
"The Samajwadi Party is making efforts to win maximum Lok Sabha seats. Those who want to stop us, have the CBI with them. Once the Congress did CBI probe, and I was questioned. If the BJP is doing all this, the CBI will question me, I will answer (them). But, the people are ready to give an answer to the BJP," he added.
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister may face a probe by the CBI, according to the agency FIR made public Saturday, the day arch rivals Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party indicated their intent to join hands. The agency also raided 14 locations in connection with the FIR against 11 persons to probe alleged illegal mining of minor minerals in Hamirpur district during 2012-16.
"Why is the CBI conducting raids. Whatever they want to ask, they can ask me. However, the BJP should remember that the culture it is leaving behind, it may have to face it in the future," he said.
On formal announcement of seat-sharing with Mayawati's BSP, Yadav said that it is likely to be made within a week. However, he maintained suspense on accommodating the Congress in the alliance, which also includes Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal.
The Samajwadi Party and the BSP have decided to fight the upcoming national elections together and have already worked out a seat sharing arrangement to take on the BJP, which along with its allies won 73 seats from the state in 2014.
"You will come to know about it (alliance) in a week or so," Yadav said.
On possibility of the Congress joining the alliance, Yadav said a decision will be taken by him and Mayawati. He declined to elaborate further.
"The BJP has taught us alliances and we are walking on the same path. We are trying to form an alliance with the BSP. The aim of the Samajwadi Party is to bag maximum number of seats but the ones who wish to stop us, they have the CBI," he said.
Terming the raids politically motivated, Yadav also questioned the credibility of the CBI.
Hitting back, the BJP said Akhilesh Yadav's government was "hand in glove" with the accused in the illegal mining case.
Rejecting Yadav's allegation of vendetta, UP minister Sidharth Nath Singh said, "If you loot public money, then law will take its own course."
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Singh said instead of questioning the time of the raids, Yadav should answer why so much "loot" had happened under his government.
Congress's Kapil Sibal also attacked the BJP, saying that whoever spoke against it was raided.
The politically crucial Uttar Pradesh sends 80 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha.
By joining hands, the opposition parties had defeated the BJP in three Lok Sabha bypolls in the state last year, the first show of strength after the 2017 Assembly elections which saw the saffron party storm to power in the state after a 14-year hiatus.
The Apna Dal, a significant player in the state politics, is also in talks to be a part of the SP-BSP alliance. It is also talking to the BJP and its chief Krishna Patel said it will tie-up with like-minded parties.
"We will go with like-minded parties, the political parties, which agree with our polices and ideology. At present, we are in talks with senior leaders of different political parties including the SP, BSP, Congress and BJP," she said.
On reports of rift between the BJP and Anupriya Patel's Apna Dal-Sonelal and Om Prakash Rajbhar's Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, she said, "I do not want to comment on it. But, as far as OP Rajbhar is concerned, he was once associated with the Apna Dal and headed the youth wing of the party."
The Apna Dal-Sonelal is a breakaway of the Apna Dal, which was founded in 1995 by Krishna Patel's husband Sone Lal Patel.
The Apna Dal-Sonelal was founded by Jawahar Lal Patel, who was also founding member of the Apna Dal.