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Mayawati Emerges as Akhilesh Yadav’s Senior Partner as SP-BSP Announce UP Seat Details

The parties had earlier decided on an equal partnership and said they would contest on 38 seats each, but the Samajwadi Party has now given away one seat from its quoto to accommodate the Rashtriya Lok Dal.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:February 22, 2019, 12:06 PM IST

Lucknow: The Bahujan Samaj Party will contest from 38 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh while the Samajwadi Party will contest from 37, the two alliance partners announced on Thursday.

The parties had earlier decided on an equal partnership and said they would contest on 38 seats each, but the Samajwadi Party has now given away one seat from its quoto, sources said, to accommodate the Rashtriya Lok Dal, which had been pressing for a minimum three seats.

According to a release signed by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, the SP will field contestants from Varanasi, the seat held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi currently, as well as Gorakhpur, the Yogi Adiyanath bastion which had gone to the SP in an unexpected bypoll result last year.

The two parties have not announced any candidates for the two seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli, which are held by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, despite there not being a pre-poll alliance between the two parties.

When the SP and BSP had announced the tie-up last month, Mayawati had explained that one issue with getting the Congress on board was that the party had “no real vote transfer”.

The 37 seats in the SP quota include Kairana, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Mainpuri, Firozabad, Badaun, Bareilly, Lucknow, Etawah, Kanpur, Kannauj, Jhansi, Banda, Allahabad, Kaushambi, Phulpur, Faizabad, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Varanasi and Mirzapur.

The BSP will contest from Saharanpur, Bijnor, Nagina, Aligarh, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Dhaurahara, Sitapur, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Kaiserganj, Basti, Salempur, Jaunpur, Bhadohi and Deoria, among other constituencies.

Thursday's announcement essentially shuts the door on Congress making an entry into the alliance, unless there is a very last-minute change of plans.

There had been speculation that Priyanka Gandhi's entry into the arena had prompted rethink in the SP and BSP camps, but Mayawati's repeated attacks on the Congress in the last one month have poured cold water over the rumours.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has also announced that his party would contest on all 80 seats in the state, turning it into a three-cornered contest.

To questions on whether a resurgent Congress could divert votes from the SP-BSP alliance and help the BJP, both Mayawati and Akhilesh responded in the negative. They said the Congress is more likely to draw upper caste votes, which would have gone to the BJP.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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