Samajwadi Party’s (SP) probable candidates, declared in the lists by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, are worried about their prospects after Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said that the Congress will form an alliance with SP for the elections. It is speculated that Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) could also join the alliance, on being guaranteed tickets from western UP, including Ghaziabad.
SP workers, upon the Election Commission’s decision to award the party name and symbol to Akhilesh Yadav, were a relieved lot on Monday evening as they were unsure about the party’s direction for the polls till then. However, developments on Tuesday have created more uncertainty among the probable candidates.
“I had started my campaign more than a week ago as my name was on both lists released earlier. But now, the situation seems different. I am waiting for the official declaration of the alliance. RLD already has a sitting MLA from Modi Nagar and this would weaken my prospects if the alliance is formed,” Ram Asre Sharma, SP’s probable candidate from Modi Nagar, said.
Sharma was among the first to purchase a nomination form from the district election office on Day 1 of nominations.
District SP sources said that Sharma is close to the group led by Shivpal Yadav and has also been visiting Bharatiya Janata Party leaders of late, after the family feud and the possibility of an alliance had emerged.
Sources also said that SP candidates from Ghaziabad, having allegiance to Shivpal, are also camping at Akhilesh’s Lucknow office to confirm their ticket.
Prior to the EC’s decision, Mulayam had announced a list of 397 candidates, in which many of Akhilesh’s loyalists were ignored. Later, Akhilesh also declared a list, of 290 candidates. As many as 140 candidates were common in both the lists.
“I think that the alliance is being formed to nullify the anti-incumbency factor. It will also increase SP’s chances of forming the next government. This may also be needed to tackle the resentment from the other group (led by Shivpal). The new list may see some new candidates or the seats may be offered to alliance partners,” said Madhu Chaudhary, a veteran SP worker.
“However, the candidates have started their campaigns already to showcase their work before the release of the final list,” she said.
Candidates from Loni and Ghaziabad, mentioned in both the initial lists, are already on the campaign trail. Rashid Malik, a probable from Sahibabad or Loni, has decided to contest from Loni and purchased a nomination form for the same. “My campaign is going well. My name was in both the lists. I will abide by the orders from the party leadership, in view of a probable alliance,” he said.
Party sources said that Loni and Murad Nagar seats are SP strongholds, but there could be a change of candidate for the Murad Nagar constituency. The sources said that the Congress may also demand the Sahibabad and Ghaziabad tickets, and RLD may also want to contest from its strongholds of Modi Nagar and Murad Nagar, if an alliance is formed.
The Sahibabad seat has gained prominence for the Congress after Bahujan Samaj Party sitting MLA from the constituency, Amarpal Sharma, joined the Congress on Tuesday.
“I think that the earlier list (by SP) was designed considering a probable alliance. However, I am still waiting to hear about my prospects after the EC resolved the issue. I have also started my campaign,” Virender Yadav, probable SP candidate from Sahibabad, said.
In the 2012 elections, SP did not win any of the seats in Ghaziabad despite bagging 224 seats across the state. Its candidates in Ghaziabad, Sahibabad and Loni came fourth while the Modi Nagar and Murad Nagar candidates secured third and second spots, respectively.