Seat-sharing headache for Akhilesh as Samajwadi Party goes aggressive on alliances with smaller outfits
LUCKNOW: The main opposition Samajwadi Party is likely toeing the BJP’s 2017 plan to victory by clinching alliances with small outfits in various regions of Uttar Pradesh.
The political viability of these alliances, however, will be on test at the time of seat sharing.
Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has been claiming that his party would come to power with a mammoth majority in the election due in a few months for the 403-member UP Assembly.
With around half-a-dozen parties in his bouquet of alliances, the SP chief is taking time to finalise seat sharing in the face of dilemma over how much to spare and retain.
Akhilesh has stitched alliances with at least three parties in eastern UP. These are former BJP ally Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) of OP Rajbhar, Apna Dal (K) of Krishna Patel and Janwadi Socialist Party of Dr Sanjay Singh Chauhan.
In western UP, the SP has tied up with its old ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) led by Jayant Chadhury, and in Rohilkhand, Mahan Dal of Keshav Dev Maurya has joined the Samajwadi bandwagon.
Akhilesh is already in talks of an alliance with his estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav’s Pragatisheel Samjawadi Party-Lohia (PSP-L). The Aam Aadmi Party is also in touch with him.
If some more members of Bhagidari Morcha, which OP Rajbhar was heading before his alliance with the SP, also shake hands with Akhilesh Yadav, the SP chief will then have to increase the quota of seats for the allies.
As per SBSP insiders, Rajbhar alone has been demanding over 20 seats from Akhilesh.
If other members of Bhagidari Sankalp Morcha join him, then the size of the seat share would stand around 35.However, senior SBSP leaders claim that seat sharing was not an issue.
Members of Bhagidari Sankalp Morcah are ready to stand by the SP in the coming elections. However, the seat sharing is likely to be finalised by December-end,” said a senior SBSP leader.
The SBSP opened its account in the 2017 polls when it contested eight seats spared by the BJP and had won four. On the contrary, in western UP, the Samajwadi Party is trying to buy time in sealing a deal with RLD.
RLD leaders preferring anonymity said that an alliance with SP is on. On seat sharing, they said the party chief had put up a demand for 50 seats while the SP was ready to offer 35 seats.
Moreover, the Samajwadis have doubts that the RLD may switch sides at the last moment. Sources said the BJP was also trying to woo the Jat party to minimise the damage due to the farmers’ protest in the western belt.
However, according to RLD national secretary Anil Dubey, RLD and SP are in final stages of forging an alliance.
At the same time, though, Shivpal Yadav’s party is yet to decide on either alliance or merger with the Samajwadi Party, sources in PSP-L say Shivpal wants 50 eats from nephew Akhilesh.
If the demands of the three major allies — SBSP along with members of Bhagidari Morcha, RLD and PSP-L — are added, it would make 135 seats. The Apna Dal (K) and Janwadi Socialist Party will
also have their own ambitions and demands.
Additionally, in case of a pre-poll understanding between the SP and the Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadis will have to accommodate the latter as well. The real challenge would emerge when the SP chief would be required to part with more than 135 seats to accommodate all the allies.
However, senior Samajwadi Party spokesperson Abdul Hafiz Gandhi discounted apprehensions, claiming that seat sharing would materialise with all the allies amicably.