Seat distribution has always been a herculean task for political parties, with thousands of applicants vying for each of them. The task only gets tougher when different parties form an alliance.
Now, all eyes are on Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is expected to sew together a deal with three other players – the Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Congress – to produce a winning alliance in the UP polls.
Everybody from chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to the SP’s prospective partners expects Mulayam to work out a political miracle. While the risk involved in such an arrangement pertains to the sharing of 100-odd seats, it would help consolidate the state’s confused minority votes.
Mulayam’s dream of going national makes winning the UP polls – described as a prelude to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections – an absolute necessity. Others in the potential alliance also see the need to emerge victorious. “It will be difficult to check the Modi juggernaut if secular forces fail to defeat the BJP in UP,” says JD(U) leader KC Tyagi.
Insiders say that while the prospective partners are demanding 125 seats, the SP wants to go by the winner-runner up formula. According to this, the SP can spare about 100 seats for its partners. It had won 224 seats in 2012 and emerged as the runner up in another 77. Later, the party won some seats in the by-polls, taking its total strength to 229.
On the other hand, the RLD and the Congress – who contested the 2012 elections together – won 37 seats in all. Congress contested 355 seats, out of which it won 28. RLD tried its luck in 46 seats, winning barely nine. The Congress was the runner up in 31 seats and the RLD on nine.
Last year, Mulayam had walked out of the Bihar alliance because he was angry over a paltry five seats being offered to him. Now, the onus is on him to stitch together a united front, failing which the BJP is sure to emerge victorious.