Seat-sharing parleys between Samajwadi Party, Congress hit roadblock in UP

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav gave a miss to Rahul Gandhi’s Nyay Yatra in Rae Bareli
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav (Photo | PTI)
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav (Photo | PTI)

LUCKNOW: The INDIA alliance of the opposition bloc seems to have hit a roadblock in Uttar Pradesh as seat-sharing parleys between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress made no headway on Tuesday.

The fact was corroborated by the decision of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav to skip Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Rae Bareli. Akhilesh Yadav had dropped enough indications to this effect on Monday by saying that he won’t join the Nyay Yatra till the seat-sharing pact with the Congress was finalised.

As per highly-placed sources, the stalemate in the ongoing negotiations continued as both the parties have locked horns over a couple of seats like Moradabad in western UP. While the Congress is reportedly demanding Moradabad, the SP is not ready to concede it. The sitting MP in the Muslim-dominated seat is the SP's Dr ST Hassan.

Moreover, sources in SP claimed that the Congress party was allegedly pressing for a couple of other seats, especially those which the SP considered to be its stronghold like Ballia. The Congress has reportedly put out the demand for Ballia for UPCC chief Ajai Rai.

When contacted, SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury claimed that talks between the two parties were going on and hoped that the final pact would be out shortly. Similarly, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal, in Delhi, also said the seat-sharing talks between the SP and Congress were in the last leg and a positive announcement could be expected soon.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav (Photo | PTI)
SP offers 17 seats to Congress, sets terms for Akhilesh joining Rahul’s yatra

It may be recalled that Akhilesh Yadav had given a final offer of 17 seats to the Congress party on Monday. However, the Congress had been demanding the 21 seats which it had won in the 2009 general elections.

As per SP sources, the 17 seats offered to the Congress comprised two of its bastions Amethi and Rae Bareli besides Barabanki, Sitapur, Kaiserganj, Varanasi, Amroha, Saharanpur, Gautambudh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Fatehpur Sikri, Kanpur, Hathras, Jhansi, Maharajganj and Baghpat.

Meanwhile, failing to get a response from the Congress till Tuesday, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav released another list announcing the names of five more candidates including that for Varanasi which was among 17 seats offered to the Congress.

What is more, the recent departure of the Jayant Chaudhury-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) from the opposition bloc intensified the discord between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party.

Initially, with the RLD also a part of the alliance, the Congress had requested only 15 seats in UP. After the RLD’s exit, the Congress revised its demand to 20-21 seats, while the Samajwadi Party is only willing to spare 17.

However, so far, the Samajwadi Party has announced 32 candidates for the upcoming general elections. What stood out in the list released by the party on Tuesday was the candidature of Shivpal Yadav who has been fielded from Badaun in western UP. Badaun is considered to be a SP stronghold represented in the Lok Sabha by Dharmendra Yadav (Akhilesh’s cousin) twice. However, in 2019, he had lost the seat to BJP candidate Dr Sanghmitra Maurya, daughter of Swami Prasad Maurya, by a slender margin.

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