The apparent breakdown of alliance talks between Congress and Samajwadi Party in Madhya Pradesh could impact the INDIA alliance plans in Uttar Pradesh in 2024, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has said, adding that his party could fight the BJP on all 80 seats.
SP has already declared nine candidates in Madhya Pradesh and could ultimately put up 35-40 candidates in the state, party sources have said. “The Congress should clarify if the INDIA alliance is at the national level or state level. If it is not at the state level, then it will not be in future at the level of other states too. I keep hearing fake media reports of a seat-sharing deal for UP in 2024. I want to say that SP is preparing a strategy to defeat the BJP on all 80 seats in UP with full responsibility,” Yadav said.
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath of the Congress has said the INDIA alliance is at the “central level” but talks were still on with the SP and both parties should strive to defeat the BJP. However, Yadav said the talks had broken down after deliberations went on till 1am two days ago.
On the other hand, UP Congress chief Ajay Rai has said Yadav should not fight in Madhya Pradesh as the Congress is in a strong position there and reiterated that his party was ready to fight all 80 seats in UP.
Congress sources also say that SP had won only one seat in MP in the 2018 assembly elections and should not over-state its demands as it has limited appeal in the state. The Samajwadi Party, however, feels it has good chances in MP seats that are close to the UP-MP border and wants to try its luck.
Uttar Pradesh is a key state in the Lok Sabha elections as it sends the maximum number of 80 MPs and the BJP has been winning big in the state both in the 2014 and 2019 general elections. SP and Congress are INDIA alliance partners and there have been talks of striking a seat-sharing deal. But while the Congress has been unhappy over SP playing the ‘big brother’ in such talks in Uttar Pradesh, the SP is accusing the Congress of the same in the Madhya Pradesh state elections.
SP is also planning to put up candidates in Chhattisgarh that could further strain its ties with the Congress. In Uttar Pradesh, the SP is not willing to spare more than 2-3 Lok Sabha seats for Congress but the current strife could derail that too.