Lok Sabha elections 2019: SP to contest 37 seats, BSP for 38 in UP
The Samajwadi Party (SP) will contest 37 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh and ally Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will fight 38 in the upcoming national elections, the two parties announced on Thursday, releasing a list of seats they had been allotted.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), the third partner in the alliance, is likely to contest three seats, according to an SP leader who did not want to be named. The RLD was initially allotted two seats, before the party led by Ajit Singh got one more from the SP’s quota, the SP leader said.
The list was signed by SP national president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP leader Mayawati, who announced their alliance in January to take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state that is believed to be the key to shaping the outcome of national elections.
BSP general secretary Ramachal Rajbhar said the alliance kept the “winnability” factor in mind in the candidate selection process, adding that the coalition was set to secure victory in maximum number of seats.
The list did not mention the number of seats the RLD has been allotted. The party could be allotted the Baghpat, Mathura and Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha seats.
In the early days of their alliance, the SP and the BSP indicated they would contest an equal number of seats, while they agreed not to contest the two Congress pocket boroughs of Rae Bareli and Amethi.
Of the 17 reserved seats, the BSP will contest 10 and the SP seven. All Lok Sabha seats, including Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Badaun, Kannauj and Etawah, in seven of the state’s 75 districts dominated by Yadavs have gone to the SP. In the 2014 elections, the SP secured a win in four seats — Mainpuri, Kannauj, Firozabad and Badaun — in this region despite a BJP wave sweeping the state.
The BSP got a lion’s share in western UP region, its traditional stronghold where it is expected to bank on the Jatav-Muslim formula. The seven seats it will contest from here are Meerut, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Shahjahanpur. The SP has been allotted Ghaziabad and Hathras seats.
In Muslim-dominated Rohilkhand region, the SP got six seats (Kairana, Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Bareilly and Pilibhit). The BSP will field candidates on five seats (Saharanpur, Bijnore, Nagina, Amroha and Aonla). The two parties with fight two seats each in the Bundelkhand region.
In central UP, the BSP will get eight seats and the SP five, including Lucknow. In the crucial eastern UP region, Akhilesh and Mayawati’s parties have gone for an almost equal share. The SP will field candidates for 15 seats, including Kaushambi, Phulpur, Allahabad, Faizabad, Bahraich, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Azamgarh and Varanasi. The BSP has been allotted 16 seats, including Bhadohi, Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Deoria, Sant Kabir Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar and Sultanpur
In 2014, the BJP alone won 71 seats in UP, sweeping the Lok Sabha elections and forming a government at the Centre with a comfortable majority. While the BSP drew a blank, the SP won five seats five years ago. The parties fought separately.
The alliance in UP, which sends the most number of parliamentarians to the Lok Sabha among Indian states, is part of a larger effort to stitch up an anti-BJP coalition at the national level. But there appears to be several differences in the Opposition bloc, including on the issue of leadership. The Congress is not part of the UP alliance.
State BJP spokesperson Chandramohan said the BJP was not worried about the alliance. “The alliance doesn’t worry us. What worries us more is the poor quality of leaders leading the alliance...,” he said, taking a veiled dig at Akhilesh and Mayawati.
Rajiv Buxi, the UP Congress committee media coordinator, was brief in his reply, saying seat-sharing between the SP and the BSP was an internal matter of the alliance.
Political analyst AK Mishra said the alliance focused on the caste equation, traditional support base and regional as well as winnability factors in drawing up the list.