SP keen on allying with Congress in Maharashtra polls
The Samajwadi Party (SP) may have kept the Congress at an arm’s length in the Lok Sabha polls, but intends to join hands with it and others opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party for the Maharashtra assembly election due in October.
The SP intends to contest about a dozen seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly.
Abu Asim Azmi, the lone SP MLA in Maharashtra and the party’s state president, said: “We intend to contest about a dozen seats in the state, especially Mankhurd Shivajinagar, two Akola seats, two Nanded seats, three Aurangabad seats, two Malegaon seats, three Bhiwandi seats and Byculla.”
Azmi, who is re-contesting his Mankhurd Shivajinagar seat, said: “We are keen on allying with the Congress and all anti-BJP parties. Rather, we want all anti-BJP parties to contest together as in the last elections, all the anti-BJP parties polled far more votes than the BJP. But because the votes got divided, the BJP and its allies got an advantage.”
When asked why the SP was at loggerheads with the Congress in the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections in 2018 and did not ally with the national party in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Azmi said: “It’s important to challenge the BJP. We are ready to compromise for an anti-BJP alliance. If the party shrinks a bit, no harm; but the country should not shrink.”
“I am making efforts to talk to various parties,” he said.
Azmi, who met SP national president Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday evening, said: “We discussed the Maharashtra polls and my alliance ideas. Akhileshji asked me to decide in my capacity of the state president what I think would be right and let him know.”
Azmi, a two-time MLA, is the only Maharashtra candidate ever to win two assembly seats. He bagged both the Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar and Bhiwandi East seats in 2009. He retained Bhiwandi then and won Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar again in 2014.
The SP has been contesting assembly and Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra regularly and notched up its highest tally of four assembly seats in 1999.
Azmi,63, hails from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh and has several businesses in Maharashtra and other places.