How well will the SP-Congress alliance work in Uttar Pradesh?

Now that the alliance has been sealed in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party and the Congress have the tough task of coordinating their efforts for the upcoming assembly polls on the ground

Photos by Deepak Gupta and Ravindra Pratap Singh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photos by Deepak Gupta and Ravindra Pratap Singh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Biswajeet Banerjee

Having salvaged the alliance from the brink, both Samajwadi Party and the Congress, agree political observers in the state, now face the far more difficult task of campaigning together and for each other on the ground. Till recently they were political rivals sniping at each other, but can they now persuade their supporters to see the other as an ally?

Rajesh Singh, a social scientist based at Gorakhpur, acknowledges that the advantage is with the alliance. “It has brought both the parties back in the race but electoral success would depend on coordination of workers on the ground. Congress leaders in particular will be hard put to explain why it did a U-turn after its “27 Saal-Uttar Pradesh Behaal” campaign.”

Concurs Manoj Dixit. “Going strictly by the votes polled by the two parties in 2012, it’s a winning combination. The two parties together had then polled 40% of the votes after having contested separately,” he said. Now by contesting together and avoiding even the ‘friendly fights’ of 2012, they should normally fare even better.

Leaders in both camps tried to strike a note of caution, worrying that the alliance was declared far too late. But even they agree that the alliance would help cement the minority votes—capable of tilting the scales in 143 out of 403 assembly constituencies.

History of alliances in UP

  • There were major alliances which include formation of Bharatiya Kranti Dal in 1967, Janata Party in 1977 and Janata Dal in 1989. These alliances were formed to stop the Congress from coming to power.
  • There were two more experiments in Uttar Pradesh, one in 1993 when the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party joined hands to contest the election after demolition of Babri Mosque, and thereafter in 1999 when Congress joined hands with BSP.

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