Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav.(File Photo | PTI)

Samajwadi Party expects Congress to reciprocate seat-sharing in Maharashtra, Haryana polls

Political pundits suggest that Congress’s stance on sharing seats with the SP in Maharashtra and Haryana will influence SP’s concessions in the forthcoming UP assembly by-polls.

LUCKNOW: The Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance will face a test of tenacity during the upcoming state assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, as well as the bypoll to 10 Uttar Pradesh assembly seats.

Both INDIA bloc partners have decided to contest together after a strong performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections in UP.

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, focusing on the expansion plan of his party, is expected to seek a share of seats in Maharashtra and Haryana, where Congress is a major force.

This move mirrors Congress’s request for a share in the 10 seats up for grabs in the upcoming by-polls to the UP assembly. The bypolls are necessitated by the election of sitting MLAs to the Lok Sabha.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav.
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The assembly polls in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Haryana are scheduled for later this year, with the UP bypolls possibly taking place simultaneously or earlier.

Political pundits suggest that Congress’s stance on sharing seats with the SP in Maharashtra and Haryana will influence SP’s concessions in the forthcoming UP assembly by-polls.

Of the 10 seats, one is expected to be vacated following the conviction of Kanpur SP MLA Irfan Solanki in a land grabbing case.

Significantly, the polls to the 228-member Maharashtra Assembly and the 90-member Haryana House will determine the future of the SP-Congress alliance within the INDIA bloc.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav.
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According to SP sources, the party has conveyed to Congress its expectation of reciprocation in Maharashtra and Haryana, akin to the support shown during the Lok Sabha polls in UP.

“The decision on seat-sharing for UP by-polls will only be discussed after clarity on seat-sharing in Maharashtra and Haryana,” said a senior SP leader.

The SP had allocated 17 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats to Congress, of which Congress won six in UP. SP contested 62 seats, allocating one to INDIA bloc ally Trinamool Congress, which was lost to the BJP.

The SP-Congress alliance outperformed the ruling NDA alliance, winning 43 seats (37 by SP and six by Congress) in UP, while the NDA secured only 36.

A senior SP leader and close confidante of Akhilesh Yadav mentioned that the party leadership was instructed to be prepared to contest at least half a dozen seats in Haryana.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra SP unit chief Abu Asim Azmi, who is also an MLA, stated that the SP Maharashtra leadership would soon discuss the state’s assembly poll plans with Akhilesh Yadav, with a particular focus on the number of seats to be contested under the alliance with Congress.

The SP has been winning seats in Maharashtra, currently holding two MLAs in the state assembly and having won three seats in 2014.

“The SP has adhered to alliance dharma in UP, and Congress reciprocated by sparing a seat in Madhya Pradesh. We now expect Congress to share seats in the forthcoming Maharashtra and Haryana polls,” said a senior SP leader.

In areas like Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, where UP migrants and Muslims are significant, the SP has strong chances of winning. “The SP’s prospects would improve further if contested in alliance with Congress,” said the leader.

In Haryana, at least 20 assembly seats have a Yadav-Muslim combination as a decisive factor for the INDIA bloc if SP and Congress contest together, he added.

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