The Samajwadi Party and the Congress may use the 2012 results to work out a seat-sharing formula for the upcoming assembly elections.
The prospects of an alliance are bright in view of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s flip- flop on the issue. While the Yadav senior (Mulayam Singh ), rooted in traditional politics, has been averse to the idea of a pre-poll electoral alliance to remain politically relevant in the entire state, the younger Yadav (Akhilesh), adopting a more pragmatic attitude, has been rooting for an alliance with the Congress.
The minorities favour an alliance between the younger leadership of the two parties —Akhilesh and Rahul—as they feel the two can together win Uttar Pradesh in 2017 and thus build a foundation for the 2019 general elections.
The gains primarily are two-fold – they will not only ride the youth wave, but also damage a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP). According to a senior BJP leader, who has done an in-depth study of all the 403 seats, SP can emerge the single-largest party only in two scenarios – either father and son patch up and fight the electoral battle together or SP-Congress arrive at some alliance. Or else it will be advantage BSP. He claims that BJP will remain number two in both the scenarios.
Congress may not have any objection to the 2012-basis as the alliance formula as it was the party’s best performance after the 1996 elections. The party won 28 seats in last polls and was runner-up in another 25 seats.
Now the seat-sharing formula based on the seats the two parties had won and were runners-up: SP had won 224 seats and was runner-up on another 77 seats in 2012. Another five were won in the by-polls. This totals 306 seats, thereby leaving less than 100 for the Congress and RLD, in case Choudhury Ajit Singh also joins the alliance.
As a goodwill gesture, Akhilesh may forfeit his party’s right on some of the seats it had won in Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Lok Sabha constituencies of Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. Of the 10 seats here, SP had won seven.
Similarly, besides 28 seats won by Congress, the party was runner-up on another 31 seats. RLD had won nine and were runner-up on another 9. The contentious seats could be the ones which were won or lost by a narrow margin and the ego clashes of senior leaders on some of them..
For instance, SP had won 41 seats with a margin of 200 to 5,000 votes. On some of these seats Congress was runner-up, like Gauriganj (503 votes) Behat (514), Koli (599), Jaunpur (1,239), Lucknow North (2,219 on which Akhilesh’s right-hand Abhishek Mishra was the winner), Sevata (2447), Mahera (2801 from where Akhilesh loyalist Yasar Shah was winner).
However, political experts believe though the Congress may try to exploit the current situation in SP to its advantage, the goodwill factor may eventually help in sealing the alliance.
After all, alliance is a compulsion for Congress and compulsory for SP to win the upcoming assembly elections.