2024 LS polls: SP grapples with alliances, candidates left in the dark - Hindustan Times
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2024 LS polls: SP grapples with alliances, candidates left in the dark

By, Lucknow
Jan 30, 2024 05:46 AM IST

The delay is denying the prospective/tentative candidates the chance to start preparations in their respective constituencies well in advance before the notification is issued

Unlike on previous occasions, uncertainty over the Samajwadi Party (SP)’s alliances and declaration of its prospective candidates for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls is causing trouble for the party cadre when the elections are just months away.

The SP has so far given seven seats to its long-standing ally Rashtriya Lok Dal and eleven to the Congress in U.P. (HT file)
The SP has so far given seven seats to its long-standing ally Rashtriya Lok Dal and eleven to the Congress in U.P. (HT file)

The delay is denying the prospective/tentative candidates the chance to start preparations in their respective constituencies well in advance before the notification is issued.

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Historically, the SP declares its candidates quite early. In the last Lok Sabha polls, when the SP had tied up with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the SP chief and his BSP counterpart had held a joint press conference not only announcing the alliance but also making their seat sharing formula clear. The homework was done beforehand leaving no chance for any confusion or dispute.

Similarly in 2017, when the SP had tied up with the Congress for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, SP state president Naresh Uttam and the then Congress state president Raj Babbar held a press conference announcing the alliance and seat sharing formula well in advance.

In both 2017 and 2019, SP candidates began covering their respective constituencies much before the actual announcement of the poll dates. Not just this, in 2017, the SP and the Congress began campaigning jointly and in 2019, the SP and the BSP launched their joint campaigns early on.

But this time, because of the delays and lack of clarity, the SP’s real campaigning has not taken off yet. This perhaps is the first time that the SP has not announced any list of candidates, not even tentative, when the polls are around three months away.

The SP has so far given seven seats to its long-standing ally Rashtriya Lok Dal and eleven to the Congress (it is expected that the SP will declares a couple of more seats for the Congress). The Congress so far has not expressed any satisfaction on agreement over the SP’s eleven seats’ announcement though. Both camps are saying more talks are going on.

The SP has so far announced two candidates through a verbal announcement. Akhilesh, at an event in Farrukhabad, had announced that party’s leader Naval Kishore Shakya will contest the seat while the SP national general secretary Shivpal Yadav had announced that former MP from Firozabad Akshay Yadav (senior SP leader Ramgopal Yadav’s son) will be in the fray from the seat again.

Apart from these two, there are unofficial word that Lalji Verma will contest from Ambedkar Nagar, Indrajeet Saroj from Kaushambi, Avadhesh Prasad-Faizabad, Anu Tandon-Unnao, Naresh Uttam-Fatehpur, Kajal Nishad-Gorakhpur, ST Hasan (SP Moradabad MP) from the same seat, Pravin Singh Aron-Bareilly, Rajiv Rai-Ghosi.

But barring a handful of potential candidates, not many are doing any full-throttle campaigning. “Samajwadi Party and several other allies in INDIA bloc had been insisting for an early decision on seat sharing, but instead of sorting out the seat sharing first, the Congress chose to get busy with its Nyay Yatra”, said a senior SP leader not willing to be named.

When asked about the unusual delay in announcement of candidates, SP national spokesperson Anurag Bhadouria said: “Such things do happen in politics when the goal is larger. The SP has to show a big heart towards allies as the goal is to defeat the BJP”.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Pankaj Jaiswal is Chief of Bureau, Uttar Pradesh and covers politics. His continued interest in rural, distress, and development journalism, fetched him a handful of prestigious awards and fellowships. Pankaj is a photo-journalist too and tweets at @augustus29lotus

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