Even as attempts are underway to forge opposition unity ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls to take on the BJP, the seat-sharing among these parties may not be an easy task in Uttar Pradesh. BSP supremo Mayawati has already made it clear that her party will enter into any alliance only if it gets a “respectable share” of the seats to contest. Otherwise it would see fighting on its own as a better option. The statement is seen as an attempt to assert BSP’s claim for seats and to put pressure on the SP and the Congress to offer it a “respectable” number of seats.
Of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, a major chunk of 73 seats (including two of Apna Dal) were won by the BJP in 2014 general elections. While the SP and the Congress got five and two seats respectively, the BSP had failed to even open its account. During the 2017 Assembly polls, the catchy one liner “UP ko ye saath pasand hai” dotting the state’s political skyline, did not get reflected on the ground as candidates of the fledgling alliance partners — the SP and the Congress — crossed swords in over a dozen Assembly seats.
This was despite both Congress President Rahul Gandhi and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav themselves finalising the seat-sharing formula. As per the understanding, it was agreed that out of the 403 assembly seats, the SP would contest 298 and Congress the rest 105. “The seat-sharing is always an issue among the parties in an alliance, with everyone wanting to get maximum number of seats. If an alliance is to be formed, the opposition should timely decide on seat sharing,” political analyst JP Shukla said.
After the defeat of BJP candidates in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya’s Lok Sabha constitutencies in Gorakhpur and Phulpur bye-elections by SP candidates supported by BSP, Akhilesh himself went to Mayawati to thank her for the support. In Rajya Sabha elections, SP supported BSP candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar. Though he could not win, SP ensured his victory during the state legislative council polls. “Alliance is the need of the hour to defeat the BJP.
People of the state are fed up with it and are looking at a chance to defeat it. The seat-sharing formula will be decided by our leadership at the opportune time,” SP leader Rajpal Kashyap said. BSP president Mayawati yesterday told her partymen that though the BSP was discussing alliances with other parties for future polls in UP and other states, they should be prepared for any situation. She said the stand of the party while entering into any alliance in any election has been to get a “respectable share of the seats to contest.
Otherwise, it sees fighting on its own as a better option”. Mayawati, who was part of the show of unity among opposition parties at the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy is going to prove a “hard bargainer,” analysts feel. For the state Congress leaders, it may be largely decided by central leadership.