With barely a few months to go for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday said that details of seat sharing deal with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh may be announced in a week or so. Yadav, however, has chosen to remain tight-lipped on the possibility of having any ties with the Congress. Earlier, statements made by Mayawati and Akhilesh have hinted that both the parties are not too keen to cede space to the Congress in the seat sharing deal in Uttar Pradesh. Yadav's latest statement came two days after he met BSP chief Mayawati in New Delhi to finalise the contours of the seat sharing agreement ahead of the general elections due by May.
Speaking to news agency PTI, the Samajwadi Party chief said, "You will come to know about it (alliance) in a week or so", adding that the two leaders in the 'gathbandhan' will decide whether Congress will be there or not". Yadav refused to elaborate further, leaving the opposition parties guessing on whether the Rahul Gandhi-led party will be a part of this 'gathbandhan' in Uttar Pradesh. However, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which has a stronghold in western UP, has also been accommodated in the alliance.
Though an official announcement is still awaited, speculations have been rife that both the SP and BSP have decided on an equal seat-sharing formula in the crucial poll state. Sources said the two parties would field candidates from 37 seats each, leaving just six seats for the other players of the Grand Alliance, including the Congress.
There has been a tussle between the SP and the Congress ever since the grand old party has refused to include one of SP MLAs in the new Madhya Pradesh ministry headed by Kamal Nath. BSP leader Mayawati too has threatened to withdraw its support to the Congress if the cases against lower caste people lodged during a protest in 2018 are not taken back.
In the recently concluded 2018 Assembly polls, the Congress managed to cross the majority mark in Madhya Pradesh with the support of SP, BSP, and Independents. While Congress, in a nerve-wracking see-saw battle with the BJP, bagged 114 seats, the SP, BSP and Independents got one, two and four seats respectively in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
However, the SP and the BSP have decided not to field candidates in Amethi and Raebareli, the Lok Sabha constituencies of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi. In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, the Congress had won only these two seats from Uttar Pradesh.
By joining hands, the opposition parties had defeated the BJP in three Lok Sabha bypolls last year in Uttar Pradesh. In the last parliamentary elections in 2014, the BJP won 71 seats in the state, securing 42.63 per cent of the votes. BJP ally Apna Dal bagged two more.
The Samajwadi Party had won five seats with a vote share of 22.35 per cent. The BSP did not win any seat while securing 19.77 per cent votes. The Congress had registered wins in two seats, bagging 7.53 per cent of the votes.