BHOPAL: Emboldened after snatching two key Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh — Gorakhpur and Phoolpur— from the ruling BJP in home state Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Akhilesh Yadav has started exploring the political landscape of neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.
During his two-day visit to the state recently, Akhilesh indicated that he wasn’t averse to joining hands with the Congress in MP, but made it clear he won’t play second fiddle in the alliance.
According to sources close to Akhilesh, he has been taking stock of the seats in the districts bordering Uttar Pradesh and might even go at it alone for several seats, if there is no alliance between SP, Congress and the BSP.
With about 11% Yadav population in the state, the SP is eyeing seats in Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh and Sagar districts in Bundelkhand region and in Satna, Rewa and Sidhi districts in the Vindhya region.
Akhilesh is banking on Bundelkhand, where Yadav votes had played a key role in the victory of two BJP politicians — Chhattarpur MLA Lalita Yadav (presently a minister in Shivraj Singh Chouhan government) and Sagar MP Laxmi Narayan — in 2013 and 2014 Assembly and parliamentary polls, respectively.
Akhilesh toured extensively in the areas bordering UP — from Bundelkhand to Vindhyan region. He addressed the public in Sidhi and Satna districts of Vindhya region, besides Khajuraho in Chhattarpur district of Bundelkhand.
When asked about his party’s alliance with the Congress not paying electoral dividends in UP last year, he said, “It was the best option in the political situation prevailing in UP then. If similar situation arises in MP, we’ll think about it here also.”
Akhilesh, however, made it clear that he won’t allow anyone to dictate terms.
“We may be told that we don’t have a significant presence in MP. We can also respond by telling them (Congress) that they too don’t have a significant presence in UP,” he said.
In MP, the party is relying heavily on Bhanwar KK Singh, nephew of former Chief Minister and Union Minister Arjun Singh. A former MLA from Sidhi, which neighbours Mirzapur district of East UP, Singh is the cousin of the leader of Opposition in the MP Assembly, Ajay Singh ‘Rahul’ and is very popular among the masses. The SP has won from Maihar Assembly seat in 2008, from Lanji in 2009 and from Niwari in 2008.