As part of the efforts to further enhance the Samajwadi Party’s ties with the Congress, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has apparently decided to field political greenhorns in several places against the Congress heavyweights for next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
And comedian Raju Srivastava will take on Congress veteran and Union Minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal in the prestigious Kanpur seat. Jaiswal, who enjoys a groundswell of support in the constituency, is a three-time MP and has not lost against the senior leaders of the BJP and the BSP.
In a surprise move, the SP on Wednesday announced that former MP Radhe Lal will be its candidate for Ghazipur in place of state minister Om Prakash Singh.
The SP’s list of candidates also includes Bal Kumar Patel, brother of dreaded dacoit Daduva, who was gunned down in an encounter with the police about three years ago in Chitrakoot.
Meanwhile, for the major political parties like the Congress, the BJP, SP and the BSP the outcome of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, especially the results in the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats, is of key significance since it could cast the die for the formation of the government at the Centre.
The SP has so far come out with the names of 70 candidates and the party is gearing up to win the maximum seats so that it can play a bigger role at the Centre following the elections.
Even if one were to go by the SP’s own estimate that the party would win as many as 60 seats, it would have to solicit the support of either the Congress or the BJP.
For its ideological posturing , which had been compromised many times over in the past, the SP cannot seek the support of the BJP to realise Mulayam’s dream of becoming the country’s next Prime Minister.
And this would mean that the party would have no other go but to lean on the Congress. So far the Congress and the SP are having cordial ties and are helping each other out on key issues.
However, to consolidate their respective positions, both the parties are attacking each other. With the Budget session of Parliament scheduled to get under way on February 21, the two parties are expected to intensify their sabre-rattling.
Despite this, the SP top brass is pretty insistent on keeping the Congress in good humour. It is for this reason that Mulayam has already announced that the SP would not put up candidates against Congress supremo, Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice- president Rahul Gandhi in Rae Bareli and Amethi respectively.
If a careful analysis of the SP’s candidates list were to be carried out, it might appear as if the party had more of the Congress’ interests at heart rather than its own.
In Lucknow Parliamentary seat, which was once represented by BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee and now by his protégé, Lalji Tandon ,the SP has fielded Ashok Bajpai. He is originally from Hardoi district and it has been his “karambhoomi” since beginning.