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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

SP-BSP alliance: An important part of the jigsaw is now in place

With the opposition alliance all but in place for over 350 seats, the focus will move to the BJP’s alliance moves.

editorials Updated: Jan 14, 2019 07:55 IST

Hindustan Times
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav during a joint press conference in Lucknow, January 12, 2019.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav during a joint press conference in Lucknow, January 12, 2019.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT Photo )

One more important piece of the jigsaw that is the Indian parliamentary elections fell into place with the declaration by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party on Saturday that they would fight the elections together in Uttar Pradesh and contest 38 seats each. That will account for 76 of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats. The two parties have decided not to contest the elections in Amethi and Rae Bareli, the pocket boroughs of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi. They have also decided to allow two seats for smaller partners; these may go to the Rashtriya Lok Dal (which might be placated by the SP giving it one, maybe two more seats from its share).

With a little over three months to go for the elections (if they are held when the 2009 and 2014 elections were), alliances are now in place (or soon will be) in several key states: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka. The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) usually go head-to-head in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. That’s around 350 seats for which alliances have been struck, although there will be some changes over the next few months as even state-level alliances become broader.

The interesting aspect of these political moves is that almost all of them have been among the opposition parties. There have been several exits from the National Democratic Alliance in recent months. Sure, the BJP’s president has articulated in the past that the only way the party can retain its dominance is by winning over 50% of the votes in each constituency (a goal that precludes the possibility and necessity of alliances), but given the unlikeliness of this, the next few months could see frenetic activity by the party to repay fraying relationships and forge new ones. That won’t be easy. The problem with being the dominant force in the Centre as well in most states is that a party becomes the common enemy of just about all others.

First Published: Jan 14, 2019 07:55 IST

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