Eye on Post-poll Scenarios, Congress and SP Pick Candidates That Minimise Mutual Damage
The ticket distribution and selection of candidates alludes to the fact that SP and Congress are seeking to minimise damage to one another in seats where they are in fray.
File photo of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav campaigning in UP. (PTI)
Both the Congress and Gathbandhan have declared candidates for most of the seats in Uttar Pradesh. A very interesting trend is emerging in the way the non-BJP parties - SP-BSP-RLD and Congress - have fielded candidates against one another.
This pattern is a peek into how these parties see each post-poll scenario if the outcome of the ongoing election is a hung parliament.
Congress, for one, has decided not to field any candidate against the Rashtriyal Lok Dal’s top brass. This means that the party has helped Ajit Singh and Jayant Choudhary by ensuring there is no division of Muslim votes in Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat.
As a quid pro quo for the gathbandhan not fielding candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, Congress is not contesting from seats where Mulayam Singh and his immediate family is contesting. There will be no Congress candidate in Mainpuri, Kannauj and Azamgarh.
Badayun remains an exception where Mulayam’s nephew Dharmendra Yadav is the candidate. But the seat is an SP stronghold and the party managed to win it even in 2014. So no losses here as well.
There are very few seats where SP and Congress seem to be working at cross purposes. Moradabad in west UP is the only place where Congress’ Imran Pratapgarhi may challenge SP’s ST Hasan for minority votes.
In adjoining Rampur from where Azam Khan is contesting against Jaya Prada, Congress has given a ticket to strong local MLA Sanjeev Kapur instead of Begam Noor Bano.
In response, the SP seems to have given Congress a winning chance is some seats outside the Gandhi pocket boroughs of Amethi and Rae Bareli.
Take Kanpur for instance. SP has fielded a Nishad candidate from the seat against former union minister and Congress candidate Sri Prakash Jaiswal. A Muslim candidate here would have made things much easier for the BJP in this urban seat.
In the adjoining Unnao seat, which has gone to the BSP, Congress’ Anu Tandon is seen as a strong candidate against BJP’s Sakshi Maharaj.
Mayawati earlier fielded Puja Pal from the seat. The wife of a former BSP MLA who was killed in gang rivalry in Allahabad, she was later replaced by an upper caste candidate. The change may damage Congress more than the BJP.
Similarly, BSP chief has sought to mobilise minority votes in west UP by fielding strong candidates even in seats where Congress has a strong presence. Saharanpur for instance.
Congress for the first time seems to have experimented by giving large number of seats to minor OBCs - Kurmis, Kushwaha and Nishads.
The aim here seems to be to arrest the mobilisation of these communities towards the BJP. But in this segment too, the choice of seat and candidate seems to suit the SP.
In Gonda for instance, Congress has fielded Kurmi leader Sone Lal Patel’s wife Krishna Patel in a seat where both SP and BJP candidates are from Rajput community.
Whereas against BSP’s Ranganath Mishra in Badhohi, Congress has given ticket to Azamgarh strongman and former MP Ramakant Yadav.
In Sitapur, Congress has nominated a strong Muslim candidate against BSP’s Nakul Dubey.
The ticket distribution and selection of candidates alludes to the fact that SP and Congress are seeking to minimise damage to one another in seats where they are in fray. That can’t be said of Congress and BSP.
In most places where the two are squaring off, their candidate selection does not seem to complement each other.
The bitterness of this pre-poll contest will have its ramifications post-poll.
But in all this slugfest, the one who stands to gain is Akhilesh Yadav. Assured of Mayawati’s core vote transfer, his task has been made easier by Congress as the grand old party fields suitable candidates.
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