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Lok Sabha elections 2019: BSP, SP likely to join hands in Maharashtra too

The BSP has decided to contest at least 20 seats, while SP may field five candidates in Muslim-dominated constituencies, including Bhiwandi, Mumbai North West, Mumbai North East, Nanded and Aurangabad.

lok sabha elections Updated:
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
BSP chief Mayawati has announced it will not align with the Congress any where in the country, while the state unit of the SP said it is disillusioned and have decided to not go with the Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra.(AFP)

The Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance may get another shock in the coming days as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party are likely to join hands and field candidates in half the Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra.

BSP chief Mayawati has announced it will not align with the Congress any where in the country, while the state unit of the SP said it is disillusioned and have decided to not go with the Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra.

Like in Uttar Pradesh, the two parties led by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav are in talks for an alliance in Maharashtra and a formal announcement is expected to be done in next two days. The BSP has decided to contest at least 20 seats, while SP may field five candidates in Muslim-dominated constituencies, including Bhiwandi, Mumbai North West, Mumbai North East, Nanded and Aurangabad.

“We have held couple of meetings for the alliance and the final decision will be taken after I get a go-ahead from Akhilesh ji. We are contesting fewer seats to avoid division of secular votes. There will be no more talks with Congress as it has disillusioned us. We were offered the seats that were not favourable to them or where they had no candidates,” said Maharashtra SP leader and MLA Abu Asim Azmi.

According to other party leaders, SP may offer its Aurangabad seat to incumbent All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MLA Imtiyaz Jalil who has announced he would contest as independent after his party announced to not contest LS elections in Maharashtra. AIMIM’s former president Sayyed Moin could be SP’s candidate from Nanded.

BSP’s Maharashtra president Suresh Sakhare said they had a couple of meetings with the SP and the decision will be taken in the next few days.

“We will declare our candidates by March 20. We have strong presence in Vidarbha and Marathwada and had secured 16 lakh votes in 2009 and 14 lakh in the last election. Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh did not respond to us despite repeated attempts. In case of alliance with SP, five to six seats will be conceded to them,” he said.

SP and BSP coming together for the Lok Sabha election may pose a serious threat to the Congress and NCP as these parties have a similar vote bank. BSP has strong pockets of votes in at least eight constituencies in Vidarbha and had polled votes ranging between 50,000 to 1 lakh in the 2014 LS elections.

BSP MP and in charge of Maharashtra Ashok Siddharth said, “After UP, MP and Rajasthan, we are hopeful about the alliance in Maharashtra too. The official announcement will be done within two days.”

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