By Pradeeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: BSP and its national president Mayawati appear to be on the driving seat for forming the alliance against BJP in UP.
Much significance is being attached to the statement of Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav that his party was ready to make compromises and settle for fewer seats than BSP to defeat BJP in the state in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. SP, BSP and RLD have been encouraged by the success in recent Lok Sabha by-elections in Kairana and Noorpur as well as the two Lok Sabha bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur.
Akhilesh Yadav, who is not member of any House of the UP legislature, announced that he would contest for Lok Sabah from Kannauj and while his father Mulayam Singh Yadav would seek election from Mainpuri. Significantly, Mayawati had not said anything about the alliance after the verdict of Kairana and Noorpur. She took four days to congratulate the voters of Kairana and Noorpur.
Before the Kairana by-election, Mayawati had made it clear that she would prefer to go it alone in the elections if her party was not given a respectable number of seats. She had asked her party workers to prepare to contest the polls alone. But there is no doubt that the manner in which the alliance won all the four seats, including in the home turf of CM Yogi Adityanath in Gorakhpur, has boosted the morale of Mayawati and her party. In the by-election, she demonstrated her ability to transfer the votes of her supporters to SP and RLD.
There is a realisation among the opposition parties that only an alliance of democratic and secular forces can defeat BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabah polls. During his recent visit CPM general secretary Sitaram Yachuri said one has to accept that SP and BSP were to be the main face of the alliance. He met NCP state president Dr Ramesh Dixit and asked him to get in touch with all democratic and secular forces and mobilise them to join and strengthen the alliance.
The role of Congress in the alliance has, however, become hot topic of discussion in political circles as there is uncertainty about the acceptability of the party to the major alliance partners.
Congress had fielded candidates in the earlier by-elections held in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, but its candidates fared very poorly. That is why it decided not to field candidates in Kairana and Noorpur. But not a single Congress leader appealed or campaigned for the alliance candidates.
Going by the experience of the 2017 assembly polls, Samajwadi Party is not willing to leave more seats to Congress. Party patriarch and founder Mulayam Singh Yadav was very much against an alliance with Congress in the assembly poll and he is understood to maintain the same view about the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as well. At the most, the party will leave Amethi and Rae Bareilly for Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, like the party had been doing in the past.
Congress had won two seats in 2014 in Amethi and Rae Bareli, but was placed second in six constituencies and got only six assembly seats with six percent votes. Still, Congress is believed to be demanding at least 15 seats from alliance leaders.
With the recent victory in Kairana, RLD has also been revived and there is big possibility that the influential Jats will join hands with Muslims to help the alliance in western UP. The RLD leadership is seen likely to seek tickets for Ajit Singh and son Jayant Choudhry along with a few others.
One thing is certain: the fate of the anti-BJP alliance depends on the future strategy and the willingness on the part of Akhilesh and Mayawati to accommodate others. (IPA Service)