By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: INDIA partners Samajwadi Party and Congress are claiming good number seats from Uttar Pradesh for 2024 Lok Sabha polls to strike hard bargain. UPCC president Ajai Rai surprised his party leaders as well as other partners of INDIA including Samajwadi, RLD and left parties when he announced that the Party will contest all the 80 seats.
Talking to newsmen Ajai Rai said that he had the responsibility to prepare the organisation, party leaders and workers to contest all the 80 Lok Sabha seats. Ever since Ajai Rai took over as UPCC president, he is busy projecting Congress as the main challenger to BJP in the state for next Lok Sabha polls.
Ajai Rai claimed that Rahul will contest from Amethi and requested Priyanka to take on PM Narendra Modi in Varanasi. Significantly enough Congress under his leadership is also busy in focusing on massive outreach programs to contact castes and communities voters.
Ever since Rahul Gandhi announced support for caste census Congress leadership in the state is finalising programs to raise this issue at village level. Congress is making all efforts to make dent in minorities support of Samajwadi Party enjoying support of muslim voters ever since Mulayam Singh Yadav as CM ordered firing in Ayodhya in 1990 to protect Babri Mosque. Congress recently inducted powerful muslim leader from western UP, Imran Masood who had earlier been with Samajwadi Party, BSP and Congress.
Significantly UPCC president Ajai Rai visited Sitapur Jail to meet former SP minister Mohd Azam Khan. Rai knew that he would not be allowed to meet Azam Khan but he wanted to send political message to Muslim community. Congress is busy in inducting Muslims from different parts of state. Similarly minority cell of the party is very active in contacting the muslim workers of even SP.
The fact remains Congress party was reduced to one seat in Lok Sabha in 2029 Lok Sabha elections with very low vote percentage . There is a realisation that going by the seat won in 2019 and vote share, Samajwadi Party will only give a few seats. That is why all efforts be are being made for hard bargain.
Bitterness created in Madhya Pradesh where Samajwadi Party was deprived of adequate number of seats by Congress leadership will have it’s impact on seat sharing for total number of 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP.
On the other hand, Samajwadi Party has also made it clear that the party will contest in 65 Lok Sabha seats leaving 15 seats for Congress, RLD and smaller parties. During 2022 assembly polls, Samajwadi Party emerged as main opposition party with 111 seats with impressive vote percentage.
Samajwadi Party has learnt lesson from 2019 when it contest Lok Sabha in alliance with BSP which increased its tally from nil to 10. Samajwadi Party could retain only five seats won in 2014. Samajwadi Party also had bitter experience of alliance with Congress in 2017 assembly polls when party was voted out of power. Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi addressed several joint meetings and organised road shows but could not weave magic for the alliance.
Akhilesh Yadav is concentrating on strengthening alliance of pichda, dalit and alpsankhayak) PDA and repeatedly asked party leaders and workers to spread the message of caste census to every house at village level. He started his cycle yatra also to strengthen PDA.
There is a realisation in political parties that the process of seat sharing in INDIA will start only after the results of assembly polls in five states are out. The mood of the voters to be reflected through assembly polls will decide the seat sharing formula for INDIA partners. (IPA Service)