‘SP, BSP achieve clarity on 24 Lok Sabha seats’
Even as the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party seem to have locked an alliance deal, sources in the two parties indicated clarity has emerged in both parties on nearly two dozen out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP.
The Samajwadi Party will contest over half of these two dozen seats, where it has had the upper hand in the past. An equal number of seats, most of them reserved ones, has been identified for the BSP.
“These are the seats that needed hardly any analytics or data crunching. There are also many where both the parties have to sit together and work out further,” said a source in the party.
Talks are going on for other seats, especially the ‘tricky’ ones.
Samajwadi Party insiders say the two parties--SP and BSP--will amicably decide the distribution of the rest of the seats.
Firozabad, Mainpuri, Badaun, Etawah, Kannauj, Phulpur, Gorakhpur, Ballia, Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, and Kairana are the seats that have fallen in the SP’s share, according to the source.
The BSP seems to have got the nod for Bansgaon, Lalganj, Agra, Misrikh, Ambedkar Nagar, Macchlisahar, Bijnor, Sant Kabir Nagar, Bhadohi, Saharanpur, Basti, Barabanki and Kaushambi. Most of these are constituencies reserved for the Scheduled Castes.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal will contest Baghpat and Mathura seats, they said.
The development comes a day after Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav met his Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) counterpart Mayawati at her New Delhi residence on Friday afternoon.
Overall, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party are likely to contest 35 to 37 seats each, sources said. A couple of seats -- two to four -- will be left vacant for possible allies, the sources said.
Sitting SP MP Akshaya Yadav will contest Firozabad, a seat that the SP has won four times. The BSP has never won this seat.
Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav is likely to contest from Mainpuri, which the SP won eight times in a row and where the BSP drew a blank.
Similarly, Dharmendra Yadav, the sitting SP MP, will seek re-election from the party stronghold of Badaun.
The SP will also contest Kannauj, which the party has won seven times in a row. Either SP chief Akhilesh Yadav will contest the seat or his wife Dimple, the sitting MP, will seek re-election from there. The BSP has never won this seat.
The SP will also contest from its stronghold Etawah, currently held by the BJP. The SP has won this four times. Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram had won the seat in 1991 when Mulayam Singh Yadav had offered it to him.
Mainpuri, Badaun, and Kannauj, and Etawah are SP’s pocket boroughs.
Similarly, the SP will contest the Phulpur and Gorakhpur seats held by it. The BSP has never won these seats.
If Mulayam contests from Mainpuri, sitting SP MP from Mainpuri Tej Pratap Singh Yadav might be fielded from Sambhal, a seat that Mulayam had won twice in the past and his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, once.
The BSP had won the seat in 2009, but now the seat is with the BJP.
The SP is likely to field former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar’s son Neeraj Shekhar from Ballia, which his father won in 1977, 1980, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004. Neeraj Shekhar won the seat in 2007 (by-election) and 2009.
Neeraj Shekhar lost the seat to the BJP in 2014 and then was sent to the Rajya Sabha by his party. The BSP never won this seat.
The SP is likely to contest from Moradabad, which it has won thrice in the past, and Rampur, the home district of the party’s most prominent Muslim leader Azam Khan.
The SP will also contest the Kairana seat, which the Tabassum Hasan won as a Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate in a by-election in May 2018 after the death of sitting BJP MP Hukum Singh. This time, the SP is likely to field her. She had won the seat as a BSP candidate in 2009 and lost it as an SP nominee in 2014.
Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel, the sitting SP MP from Phulpur, is set to seek re-election from the seat that he won in a by-election in March 2018.
In Gorakhpur, Praveen Nishad is set to seek re-election on the SP ticket.
Although his father is the NISHAD party founder, Praveen Nishad won the seat on the Samajwadi Party ticket in the 2018 bypoll.
Neither the Samajwadi Party nor the Bahujan Samaj Party has ever won Baghpat or Mathura. Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh won the Baghpat seat five times and his son Jayant Chaudhary bagged the Mathura seat in 2009 but lost it to the BJP’s Hema Malini in 2014. The Baghpat seat is held by the BJP now.
“These two seats have gone to the Rashtriya Lok Dal,” said the source.