BSP says rumours of joining with only Congress and not SP ‘baseless’

A BSP leader told National Herald that reports that the party will ally only with the Congress and not Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are ‘baseless’

Photo courtesy: PTI
Photo courtesy: PTI

Biswajeet Banerjee and Vishwa Deepak

Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav’s recent statement that he was ready to sacrifice a few seats to continue his alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party, predictably led to rumours in Lucknow’s political circles that the BSP could dump the SP and ally only with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh for the next Lok Sabha election.

The successive defeats of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Lok Sabha bypolls at the hands of the SP-BSP alliance, has made many people in the state capital nervous, and every statement by Akhilesh and Mayawati is being examined under a microscope in a desperate search for hints of any weakness in the alliance. Hence, when Mayawati at a recent press conference said, “I will enter into an alliance only if BSP gets respectable number of seats”, a statement typical of ongoing negotiations over seat-sharing, many rushed to speculate that she was giving credence to rumours that the SP-BSP alliance was on shaky ground.

BSP’s talks with Congress currently underway to forge a political understanding to contest Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and perhaps also in Rajasthan, is also being used to suggest that the BSP prefers to align only with Congress.

However, a BSP leader told National Herald on the condition of anonymity that such reports seem baseless. “Everyone understands including Behenji that BSP alone cannot defeat the BJP in UP. BSP will have to go for an alliance with the SP plus Congress,” he said

Calling it a "do or die situation" for the Opposition, Professor Sudhir Panwar, a senior SP leader who is considered the intellectual face of the party, told NH that SP chief Akhilesh Yadav's statement on seat sacrifice for the BSP proves that he is a leader of the future. He knows that defeating BJP should be first and foremost agenda of all secular-democratic parties in 2019 and all other issues can be solved later.

Akhilesh Yadav’s statement can be seen in the contest of BSP reportedly staking its claims on more than 40 Lok Sabha seats out of a total of 80 in UP. It’s being said that BSP wants to contest all those seats where it came second in 2014 elections. “BSP was second in 48 constituencies. If BSP contests these seats then SP, Congress and RLD need to share remaining 32 seats,” a senior Samajwadi Party leader said.

A senior SP leader who is considered very close to SP chief Akhilesh Yadav also dismissed the report of BSP giving preference to the Congress over SP for alliance. The leader who did not wish to be named said that even mathematics does not support such a claim. “BSP got 20%, SP 29% and Congress 7 % in last general election. BJP alone secured 42 % which is almost equal to the combined vote share of the BSP and the SP. If you combine BSP and Congress' vote share, it is less than 30%. Without combining with SP, BSP and Congress cannot win the state.”

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