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As 'Bhai-Behan' Create Speed Bumps, 'Bua-Bhatija' May Have to Rework Their Route to 2019

SP-BSP's calculations about the 'Congress Factor' seems to have been disturbed. The two regional heavy weights might now have to rethink their calculations and try and work out some understanding with the grand old party.

Pranshu Mishra | CNN-News18

Updated:January 24, 2019, 1:04 PM IST
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As 'Bhai-Behan' Create Speed Bumps, 'Bua-Bhatija' May Have to Rework Their Route to 2019
SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress president Rahul Gandhi during a joint press conference in Lucknow (File photo: PTI)

Lucknow: Congress's aggressive posturing in Uttar Pradesh along with Priyanka Gandhi's entry into active politics can lead to remaking of political strategies in the state.

Possibility is that SP-BSP's calculations about 'Congress Factor' might just have been disturbed. Thus, forcing the two regional heavy weights to rethink their calculations and try and work out some understanding with the Congress party on around 15 Lok Sabha seats in order to hope for BJP's defeat.

These 15 seats are among those 30 constituencies which have been zeroed down by the Congress under its 'Mission 30' strategy. From Saharanpur and Ghaziabad in the west to Kushi Nagar and Mirzapur in the east, the 15 seats are such where Congress had got much above one lakh votes and analysis shows that a divided opposition can be a clear edge to the BJP.

Apart from above mentioned seats, other crucial constituencies are Kheri, Dhaurara, Unnao, Lucknow, Pratapgarh, Kanpur, Barabanki, Faizabad, Gonda and Kushinagar.

Some of these seats are Congress's strong hold either because of the presence of a big leader or due to a respectable Congress vote because of urban seat factor.

Starting with Saharanpur in the west, it's the constituency where party's Imran Masood finished second in 2014, losing to BJP by around 70,000 votes. SP-BSP together had got less than 3 lakh votes on the seat. Despite RLD being with the alliance this time around, it will be the seat where Congress can't be ignored. And hence, some understanding is required.

Similarly in Ghaziabad, Congress had got around two lakh votes in 2014, despite a strong Modi wave. It was more than what SP and BSP had got respectively. Clearly without an 'understanding', Opposition's aim to corner BJP will be difficult to achieve.

In Unnao and Lucknow too, it's a similar story. In Unnao, Congress's Anu Tandon got 1.97 lakh votes. Though BSP-SP together slightly had an edge above the BJP. But for ensuring a certain victory over the BJP, Congress's support would be needed.

In Lucknow, Congress was the runner up with 2.88 lakh votes. BJP's Rajnath Singh had won by securing 5.61 lakh votes. SP-BSP together had got around 1.50 lakh votes only. Naturally, in order to check the BJP, Opposition needs an 'understanding'.

In Dhaurara, it's Congress heavy weight Jitin Prasad and in Kushi Nagar, it's RPN Singh who are formidable candidates. Prasad had got 1.70 lakh votes, while Singh had polled 2.84 lakh votes. Naturally, SP-BSP leadership needs to have a strategy with these two heavy weights in Mind.

In Barabanki, it was Congress's Dalit face PL Punia, who had emerged as a runner in 2014 with 2.42 lakh votes. SP-BSP together had got slightly above 3.25 lakh votes. BJP had won the seat by getting 4.54 lakh votes. Naturally, Barabanki too will require a strategic understanding between the Congress and the SP-BSP alliance.

Sources in SP-BSP are already indicating a possible rethink as far as their 'Congress approach' is concerned. A senior SP leader, not willing to be quoted, says, "During 12 January press conference, Akhilesh Yadav was not at all aggressive against the Congress party. It was only Mayawati who attacked the grand old party."

The fact that Rahul Gandhi in his comments on Wednesday in Amethi took a very humble and pragmatic approach towards the SP-BSP alliance is an indicator of a possible future understanding. "I have love and respect for both Akhilesh and Mayawati. We are united in defeating the BJP. I am open to both the parties approaching us again," he had said.

Sources now say that after Congress push to the idea of a possible "understanding" on select 12-15 seats is very much a possibility. This apart from Amethi and Rae Bareli, where SP-BSP have already declared not to field a candidate against the Congress party.

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