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Hry, Maha polls likely to be test of SP-Cong alliance dharma

Jun 23, 2024 08:26 AM IST

After the 2024 LS poll results in U.P, Congress wants SP to share seats in U.P. assembly bypolls. SP, too, wants Cong to show “large-heartedness” in Maharashtra and Haryana

LUCKNOW The first big test for the Samajwadi Party (SP)-Congress alliance after their success in Uttar Pradesh in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls will be seen in the Haryana and Maharashtra assembly polls later this year.

The polls for the 90-member Haryana assembly, the 228-member Maharasthra Assembly, besides the UP bypolls will show the roadmap for the SP-Congress alliance within the INDIA bloc. (File Photo)

The Congress approach in the two states may decide the SP’s concessions to the grand old party in the forthcoming assembly by-polls for 10 seats in Uttar Pradesh.

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These by-polls may happen along with or before the Haryana-Maharashtra assembly polls. Ten UP assembly seats would be notified vacant following the resignation of their MLAs on being elected MPs. One seat is expected to be notified vacant following the conviction of Kanpur SP MLA Irfan Solanki.

The polls for the 90-member Haryana assembly, the 228-member Maharasthra Assembly, besides the UP bypolls will show the roadmap for the SP-Congress alliance within the INDIA bloc.

The Congress is a force to reckon with Haryana and Maharashtra and the SP is a major player in U.P.

After the 2024 LS poll results in U.P, the Congress wants the SP to share seats in the U.P assembly by-polls. The SP, too, wants the Congress to show “large-heartedness” in the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly polls.

The SP sources say that the party has indicated to the Congress that it expects the same kind of reciprocation in Maharashtra and Haryana as the SP showed for the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls in U.P. Any seat-sharing in the U.P. by-polls will only be discussed after some clarity on seat-sharing in those two states.

In U.P, the SP had given 17 of the 80 seats to the Congress and kept 62 seats to itself, giving one to INDIA bloc ally Trinamool Congress.

Both camps are claiming that the alliance will go beyond the Lok Sabha polls. The SP-Congress alliance bagged 43 seats together in U.P. against the NDA’s combined tally of 36.

With 37 seats, the SP emerged as the single-largest party in Uttar Pradesh relegating the BJP to the number two position with 33 seats (a loss of 29 seats). The Congress made a huge leap to six seats from its previous one and also won both the Rae Bareli and Amethi seats.

“The national president (Akhilesh Yadav) last week asked us to prepare to contest at least half-a-dozen seats in Haryana,” said Sanjay Lathar, senior SP leader and former leader of the opposition (LoP) in the U.P. Legislative Council.

Maharashtra SP chief Abu Asim Azmi, who is also a party MLA, said: “On June 23, we have a meeting with the national president (Akhilesh Yadav) where we will discuss our Maharashtra assembly poll plans and the number of seats we expect to contest under the alliance with the Congress. We expect the SP-Congress to replicate the U.P. success in the Maharashtra polls”. Unlike Haryana, the SP has been winning seats in Maharashtra. It currently has two MLAs in Maharashtra and won three seats in the 2014 Maharashtra assembly polls.

Fakhrul Hasan Chand, an SP spokesperson, said: “The SP had adhered to the alliance dharma in UP and the Congress, too, gave one seat to the SP to contest in Madhya Pradesh. We naturally expect the Congress to give seats to the SP in the forthcoming Maharashtra and Haryana polls.”

A senior SP leader said: “There are several seats in Mumbai and some other parts of Maharashtra where the SP can win because of UP migrants, Muslims and a few other factors. The SP has been winning seats in Maharastra on its own and the prospects would further improve in the SP-Congress alliance. Similarly, there are 20 assembly seats in Haryana where the Yadav-Muslim factor could play a decisive role for the INDIA bloc if the SP-Congress contests together.”

Congress spokesperson Surendra Rajput said: “The alliance of Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav in U.P. was chemistry rather than political arithmetic. Hopefully, the alliance will continue and flourish. So far as seat-sharing is concerned, we all know ultimately that it will be decided by Rahul Gandhi (senior Congress leader) and Akhilesh Yadav (the SP chief)”.

This is the first time that any SP alliance since 2017 has not collapsed immediately after polls.

The SP-Congress alliance of the 2017 U.P. assembly polls had collapsed soon after the election. The SP-BSP alliance of 2019 Lok Sabha polls broke within hours of the poll results. The SP’s alliance with the smaller party SBSP (Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party) in the 2022 UP assembly polls turned acrimonious soon after the results and eventually came unstuck.

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