Congress very much part of SP-BSP alliance, has 2 seats, says Akhilesh
Former Union minister Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) will contest three Lok Sabha seats in alliance with Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh.
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav announced this on Tuesday while reiterating the Congress, which has been offered two seats, was “very much part” a part of their grand alliance.
The SP and BSP announced their alliance for the national polls in Uttar Pradesh on January 12. They initially agreed to contest 38 seats each and leave the rest four of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 Lok Sabha seats for allies like the Congress and RLD.
The RLD will now contest Mathura, Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat seats in Western Uttar Pradesh. It has been given the additional seat from the SP quota, according to people aware of the developments.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returned to power at the Centre in 2014 and on the back of its performance in its western and northern Indian strongholds like Uttar Pradesh, where it won 71 out of the 80 seats. A united Opposition later wrested three seats from the BJP in bypolls and prompted the SP and BSP to forge the alliance.
RLD general secretary, Jayant Chaudhary, said they will campaign for all the 80 Lok Sabha seats with the SP and BSP, but will put up candidates for the three seats.
The RLD will field its two candidates and an SP candidate will contest on its symbol, according to people aware of the developments. “Jayant Chaudhary will contest one seat, Ajit Singh another while an SP leader will contest the third seat on an RLD ticket. Also, the Kairana seat, which is with RLD now, is back with the SP,” said an SP leader on condition of anonymity.
Both Chaudhary and Yadav, who addressed a joint press conference to announce the seat sharing formula, refused to name the candidates who will contest the three seats.
Akhilesh Yadav reiterated the Congress is a part of the grand alliance as they have been given it two seats even as the party on January 13 announced it would contest the national polls in Uttar Pradesh on its own.
The Congress’s announcement came after the SP and BSP left just the Gandhi family pocket boroughs – Rae Bareli and Amethi – for the party. Congress president Rahul Gandhi represents Amethi in Parliament while his mother Sonia Gandhi is a Lok Sabha member from Rae Bareli.
Akhilesh Yadav evaded questions regarding reports that nine to 10 seats could be offered to the Congress. “The alliance is a confluence of similar thoughts and ideologies of the parties involved.”
Why no surgical strike on unemployment, asks Akhilesh
Akhilesh Yadav attacked the BJP. He referred to India’s strike on a terrorist camp in Pakistan last month and added the real one will happen at the polling booth level. “Why did the BJP government not do a surgical strike on unemployment?”
BJP leader Chandra Mohan said the fear of defeat was uniting sworn political rivals in Uttar Pradesh. “The unscrupulous are busy forming an unholy political alliance. Even SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav has opposed the alliance,’’ he said.
Mohan was referring to the SP founder’s statement on February 21 in which he showed displeasure over the SP’s move to give the BSP 38 seats.
“These political parties, which are saying that BJP government has not done anything right in five years, should explain why they are entering into an alliance against us. It shows their fear, their vulnerability,” said Mohan.