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SP, BSP Gear Up for By-polls in 12 Assembly Seats in UP to Emerge as Main Opposition Party in the State

The BSP, with 15 seats in the Lok Sabha after a term's dry spell, is in a deadlock with the Samajwadi Party for claim to form the main Opposition against the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:July 4, 2019, 3:36 PM IST
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SP, BSP Gear Up for By-polls in 12 Assembly Seats in UP to Emerge as Main Opposition Party in the State
File photo BSP chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav (PTI).

Lucknow: The upcoming by-polls in Uttar Pradesh this year hold strategic importance for both the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) as both will compete to establish themselves as the main Opposition in the state.

The two rival parties, which came together to take on the Narendra Modi wave during the 2019 general elections, will be contesting for the Muslim vote bank in the by-elections to 12 UP constituencies.

The political landscape of Uttar Pradesh has been defined by the parties over the last two decades. Both have, at some point, enjoyed power at the state level.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the two adversaries formed an unlikely alliance, which was called off due to debate over transfer of vote share. The BSP shot up to 15 seats in the Parliament from zero, while the SP still only had five. The Samajwadi Party claimed that the BSP could win 15 seats owing to its alliance with the SP, while the BSP flaunted that it was stronger of the two.

The upcoming by-poll contest may help one party stake claim to being superior.

The BSP believes that it can rise to power again by uniting Muslim and Dalit votes under its umbrella, with the BSP chief Mayawati exhorting voters from both groups to come together and ensure that the party wins more seats like it did during the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

The BSP has also sent a message to Muslim voters that its adversary, the SP, has lost its core vote bank, and it was only the Muslim and Dalit votes it received that ensured the mere five seats it could win, of which, three went to Muslim candidates.

Ratan Mani Lal, senior journalist and political analyst, believes that SP leader Akhilesh Yadav should comment on Mayawati’s claim that his party has failed to retain Muslim and Dalit votes, as it may be detrimental to the SP’s prospects. Yadav has already failed to make any fruitful alliances in the past, first by siding with the Congress in the 2017 assembly polls, then with the BSP in the 2019 general elections.

“In such a scenario, Akhilesh should revert to the allegations by the BSP and try to retain his vote bank by giving out a message. Else, the BSP might succeed in getting Muslim voters to its side in the upcoming polls and will prove fatal to the existence of the Samajwadi Party,” Lal said.

In the 2014 general elections, the SP managed to bag five seats, thereby establishing itself as the main opposition in UP. During the 2012 to 2017 term, the Samajwadi Party also ruled the state.

In the 2017 UP Assembly elections, SP got 47 seats and the BSP was reduced to 19 seats.

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