SP, BSP pact in UP taking final shape, NCP all set to embrace in Maha
The BJP’s nightmare of facing strong regional alliances in different States in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls is seemingly turning true with some clarity reaching in at least two major States — Uttar Pradesh (80) and Maharashtra (48) — accounting for 128 Lok Sabha seats.
Formidable regional tie-ups against the ruling BJP have taken some shape in the last two days with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) almost set to seal a pact in Uttar Pradesh even as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has gone ahead forging a 20-20 seat sharing deal so far with the Congress in Maharashtra.
The BJP will also be up against a massive challenge in the national Capital if the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) enters into a tie-up with the Congress, an announcement for which could be made in the coming weeks. Delhi has seven Lok Sabha seats.
The BJP, which alone won 22 seats in Maharashtra and together with Shiv Sena (which pocketed 18 seats) had swept 40 of the 48 LS seats in the State in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll, would be up against a fatal NCP-Congress combine. This even as a taciturn Shiv Sena continues to remain belligerent, demanding a clear upper hand in the assembly polls also due this year.
The Congress and the NCP have left eight seats for others that would be finalised later. Like in UP, it would again be a massive political challenge to the BJP which had posted its best performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The political scene in UP would get shriller for the BJP-led-National Democratic Alliance (NDA) if the finality of SP-BSP alliance is announced this month amid growing voices of dissent from its own stable from the likes of Anupriya Patel’s Apna Dal and Omprakash Rajbhar’s Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party.
Though the SP has sounded on the seat sharing alliance, there is no word yet from BSP chief Mayawati who has been unpredictable in the past.
The BJP, which had won a record 71 Lok Sabha seats ( 73 with NDA allies) in UP in 2104 riding on the Modi wave, has in recent times faced major reverses losing in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana Lok Sabha by-elections where BSP had backed SP candidates.
In the eventuality of SP-BSP announcing an official seat-sharing pact, the BJP would need to search for a non-Yadav and non-Jatav winning combination by way of wooing non-Jatav Dalits and Other Backward Classes (other than Yadavs) to sail through in the electorally most important state which also happens to have the home constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi.
For the Congress though, it does not seem to be part of the SP-BSP alliance with the regional powerhouses reportedly keeping 37-37 LS seats for themselves and leaving barely six seats for the rest, including the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal. In such a scenario, if the Congress goes alone in the State, it may provide a marginal relief to the BJP, albeit indirectly.
Congress Rajya Sabha member PL Punia said his party is preparing to contest alone in UP. “A coalition is not important… Our workers are ready… We have not spoken to anyone about an alliance,” he said. However, senior Samajwadi Party leader and uncle of SP head Akhilesh, Ram Gopal Yadav tried to downplay the reports saying talks of sidelining the Congress are “imaginary”.
The compulsions alliance between the SP-BSP dates back to the 2104 Lok Sabha poll when the BSP was routed scoring zero and the SP won only five seats. The SP won only those seats where members of the Mulayam Yadav clan contested. The Congress, which had 22 seats in the 2009 election, managed to hold on to only the Nehru-Gandhi family pocket borough of Rae Bareli and Amethi.
According to SP’s national spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary, a formal announcement on the “gathbandhan” between the two Uttar Pradesh-based parties may take place later this month. He said Akhilesh and Mayawati had given their “in-principle approval” to the alliance after a series of meetings between them.
The two leaders also met Friday, he said. Talks are on with other parties as well, the spokesperson said. “A number of meetings between SP chief Akhilesh and BSP supremo Mayawati have already been held. Yesterday too, both leaders met in Delhi.”
“Talks are going on to accommodate some smaller parties in the alliance,” he said. He admitted that the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which has a presence in western UP, is among these parties.
Sunday, 06 January 2019 | Deepak K Upreti | New Delhi-–
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