UP: SP-Congress-RLD alliance; breakthrough likely in next 24 hrs
Confusion still persists within the new alliance partners of the ruling Samajwadi Party, the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal(RLD), leading to delay in the announcement of seats and a joint campaign strategy for Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.
Though claiming that this alliance would be similar to the grand alliance of Bihar which prevented the BJP from coming to power, but for the past two days, there is a deadlock over seat sharing between the three parties. But within 24 hours, a clear picture is likely to emerge and by tomorrow morning, the alliance may be formalised. It has been reported that the Congress and SP have already agreed on the seat numbers but the RLD is apparently demanding around 30 seats, which is not acceptable to the other factions leading to the delay.
As per the reports, the SP is ready to give 85 seats to the Congress and around 15 to RLD. As just four days remain for the filing of nominations for the first phase of polling which ends on January 24, the probable candidates of these parties are having restless days of uncertainty. A senior SP leader told UNI here today that party president Akhilesh Yadav will wait for this evening and if nothing is sorted out then he will announce the candidates and the formal alliance announcement would be made during the joint campaigning in western UP.
"A section of the SP leaders is not much interested in going with the RLD as it could affect the Muslim vote bank in the western UP. Besides, Jats too are not much supportive to RLD as during the riots of 2013, Ajit Singh had avoided them," another SP leader said. Akhilesh Yadav today met Sibutullah Ansari, Rahguraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya and several others to chalk out his strategy and finalise the candidates' list. There is another report that apparently irked Mulayam Singh Yadav was that he was not ready to campaign for the party after SP symbol cycle was handed over to Akhilesh and if the new SP president refuses to give tickets to close confidants of party founder Mulayam , then he might skip the campaign which will be a big jolt to the SP.
Mulayam had given a list of 38 candidates to Akhilesh yesterday to be included in his list. It has been reported that the party leaders has finalised the list for the first two phases of the elections.
On the other hand, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad ,who was slated to visit Lucknow to announce the alliance, has cancelled his air tickets thrice from New Delhi due to the deadlock in talks with the RLD. Now there is speculation that Azad would be reaching Lucknow this evening and the formal announcement of alliance would be made later in the night or tomorrow morning.
The Congress had demanded at least one seat each from 75 districts plus most of the seats in Amethi and Rae Bareli districts which is creating a problem for the SP, which will have to lose some of the vital seats in order to accommodate the Congress. Sources said the Congress was demanding a seat from Lucknow which was agreeable to the SP.
" Congress had one sitting member at Lucknow Cantonment but the candidate Rita Bahuguna Joshi had joined the BJP. Congress Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh wants the seat for his wife Amita. On the other hand, the SP wants the seat for their family member Aparna Yadav, wife of Pratik, the youngest son of Mulayam Singh Yadav. But now Amita is set to be shifted to Lucknow( East) seat ," a senior Congress leader confided to this agency..
The SP has agreed to the Congress demand to give all the seats in Amethi and Rae Bareli except that of two ministers Gayatri Prasad Prajati from Amethi seat and Manoj Kumar Pandey from Uchahar seat. In the 2012, assembly elections Congress failed to win a single seat in Rae Bareli but won one from Amethi, but the lone Congress MLA too joined the BSP last year.
The Central election screening committee of the Congress has also finalised its list but there is confusion on how much seats the party will contest.