UP Elections 2017: Samajwadi Party, Congress Likely to Announce Grand Alliance Today
Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav; Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
New Delhi: The long-awaited alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress ahead of Uttar Pradesh elections may finally be struck on Friday.
A meeting of the Congress election committee is on and it could decide seats for the first phase of elections, for which nomination begins on January 21. This leaves little time for both the Samajwadi Party and the Congress. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and the party’s state in-charge Raj Babbar could travel to Lucknow on Friday and officially announce the alliance.
The Congress is insisting on 100+ seats and wants to accommodate Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal, which the SP is not so keen on. The Samajwadi Party SP, in fact, has officially conveyed that it won’t align with the RLD.
This means the Congress will have to accommodate RLD from its kitty, posing a problem. The RLD has been insisting on 50 seats, while the Congress is keen on giving only 25+ seats. The RLD has a strong presence in western Uttar Pradesh and Congress feels the tie-up could be a winning combination.
In the 2012 Assembly polls, the SP had won 224 seats with a vote share of 29.3 percent, while the Congress had bagged 28 seats with an 11.7 percent vote share.
Efforts to cobble together a similar grand alliance in Bihar had come across a hurdle with the Samajwadi Party deciding to go it alone in the 2015 Assembly polls in that state.
The Bihar unit of the SP had demanded at least 27 seats, but later agreed to contest from 12.
When finally they were given only five seats, the party took it as a humiliation and decided to go solo.
Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in the country, will go to polls to elect 403-member House in seven phases between February 11 and March 8. Counting will be held on March 11.