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SP, JD (S), LJP, Left come together to contest Maharashtra polls

india Updated: Sep 20, 2009 13:50 IST
assembly elections. Samajwadi Party

Forced to lie low after the Lok Sabha elections, parties like Samajwadi Party, JD (S), Lok Janshakti Party and the Left have come together in Maharashtra to contest the assembly elections in Maharashtra.

Having formed the Republican Left Democratic Front (RLDF) in the state, these parties claim the alliance is only for the Assembly elections in Maharashtra, which are scheduled for October 13.

However, insiders say that if the results are favourable for the RLDF then there are chances that the alliance could spread to other states too.

The 18 party alliance has seen all the five warring factions of the RPI, including the ones led by Ramdas Athawale and Rajendra Gavai, come together, while some other smaller parties in the state like Peasants and Workers Party and Shetkari Sangathana are also part of it.

Chief whip of Samajwadi Party Shailendra Kumar told PTI that his party understands with other constituents of the front was only for the Maharashtra polls.

"Mulayam Singh Yadav had authorised Maharashtra SP head Abu Asim Azmi to hold meetings with other parties of the alliance. The understanding is only for Maharashtra polls. The future of the alliance will depend on the outcome of the polls," Kumar said.

JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda also played safe on the alliance.

Though confident of a good performance in the state, Gowda when asked about the future of the alliance echoed SP's views. "It is only a local understanding for Maharashtra," he said, adding the partners had not even discussed any possibility of extending the alliance beyond the state as of now.

Lok Janshakti Party secretary general Abdul Khaliq also said they were in the alliance for Maharashtra and contesting only six seats in pockets like Bhiwandi and Nagpur, where they are banking on minority and Dalit votes.

"Our Dalit Sena is quite active in these pockets and we are looking at Muslim and Dalit support in these areas. The future of the alliance will depend a lot on the poll's outcome," Khaliq said.

SP is contesting around 30 seats in Maharashtra, while JD (S) is fighting 20 seats. There are 288 seats in Maharashtra assembly.

The Left parties and JD (S) were the main architects of the Third Front before the Lok Sabha polls. However, both were left high and dry after the polls, with JD (S) managing just three seats and CPI and CPI (M) only four and 16 seats respectively.

LJP on the other hand, failed to even open its account, with its chief Ram Vilas Paswan also losing.

The post poll scenario forced LJP, JD (S) and even SP to lend outside support to the Congress-led UPA, which these parties still continue to do so.

Sources in the RLDF said the Left parties too are not looking beyond Maharashtra as of now.

Both CPI and CPI (M) are having negotiations with other alliance partners and are aiming to contest around 45 to 48 seats there (with CPI (M) aiming at a larger share).

All the parties are contesting in those areas of Maharashtra where they feel they have certain pockets of influence and if the alliance manages to win a significant number of seats, and then its aim would be to remain politically relevant in the post-poll scenario in that state.

RLDF is also hoping that the anti-incumbency factor against the 10-year-old Congress-NCP regime in Maharashtra would work in their favour and it would be able to give a good fight to the Shiv Sena-BJP combine, said a senior leader of the front.