Following the alliance call by Samajwadi Party’s Shivpal Yadav, the Congress is seriously considering a ‘mahagatbandhan’, acknowledging that it would serve their cause better than marching in alone with very weak political presence. Yadav had hinted at an alliance with the RLD and Congress to stop the “communal forces” in the state. Pradip Mathur, Congress’s Legislature Party Leader told the ToI that most of the MLAs extended their support for a pre-poll alliance after which Rahul Gandhi informed them that their opinion would be considered as top priority. Since it is very evident that that BSP looks in no mood for an alliance, the other possible alliance remains to be RLD and SP.
The Congress is not in opposition to joining a multi-party coalition. It can take the example of Bihar where it gained both respect and the numbers by an alliance between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav. A congress manager told IE that SP’s attempt to explore the possibility of an alliance was not just a “test balloon”. Earlier, 17 Congress MLAs from Uttar Pradesh had urged Vice-President Rahul Gandhi to join secular forces for the assembly elections in 2017 after Samajwadi Party’s UP President Shivpal Yadav hinted an alliance. The only sign of a turning back on the possibility is that no senior leader has yet come out speaking about this in public. Although, there are other murmurs going around which suggest that an allianec with the SP would cause damage to the Congress.
The party had also been busy with a massive electoral campaign in UP, which was headlined by Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Deoria to Delhi’ yatra which is currently being followed by the ‘Rahul Sandesh Yatra’ in 75 districts. There have also been talks about how the alliance would negatively affect this campaign by creating a certain confusion amomg the voters. And if an alliance works out, it would mean that the Congress would have to carve out of a huge piece of the 402 seats for SP, which won’t necessarily make all its workers happy.