Com­mon Goal, But No Seat For­mula for Op­po­si­tion in UP

While there is unity on pre­vent­ing BJP from com­ing to power, BSP, SP, RJD & Congress con­tinue to ar­gue over shar­ing of seats, writes

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

When­the op­po­si­tion al­liance seemed to be a given in Ut­tar Pradesh, BSP chief Mayawati has yet again re­it­er­ated that she would be a part of any group­ing only if her party is of­fered a ‘re­spectable’ num­ber of seats. Till date, there was lit­tle to sug­gest that there is any strain in the Sa­ma­jwadi Party and BSP re­la­tion­ship, how­ever, Mayawati’s re­peated de­mand for more seats even in states where she is a mi­nor player has added a new di­men­sion to ‘Grand Al­liance’ talks. While all eyes are on the up­com­ing state elec­tions, a lot of pos­tur­ing by the par­ties is be­ing done keep­ing in mind the equa­tions in UP.

FIRST THING FIRST While the talks be­tween the big al­liance part­ners seem to be flowing smoothly in UP, the wax­ing and wan­ing of po­lit­i­cal for­tunes in poll-bound Ch­hat­tis­garh, Mad­hya Pradesh and Ra­jasthan seem to be pri­mary fac­tor hold­ing back the an­nounce­ment of the ‘Grand Al­liance’.

The state­ments from BSP chief Mayawati seek­ing ‘re­spectable’ num­ber of seats and blam­ing prospec­tive part­ner Congress equally for fuel hike are be­ing seen as bar­gain­ing at­tempts by her for more seats in the poll-bound states. AKHILESH READY TO GO THE EX­TRA MILE SP chief has of­fered more space and seats to BSP chief while the lat­ter­con­tin­uestosi­lent­ly­work­for­re­viv­ing her old bases across the state through reg­u­lar cadre camps.

Apart from un­der­tak­ing or­gan­i­sa­tional works, SP chief is said to be in touch with small po­lit­i­cal out­fits, in­clud­ing NISHAD Party and Peace Party, to bring them in the united op­po­si­tion camp.

Congress and RLD, how­ever, are find­ing lit­tle room to as­sert their po­si­tions in the ne­go­ti­a­tions for seats.

ALL SEEMS TO BE ON TRACK As things stand, there is al­most a clear un­der­stand­ing among the four prospec­tive part­ners to avoid tak­ing any move that may jeop­ar­dise the on­go­ing al­liance talks.

What is also con­sid­ered to be a re­lief for both­the­big­camps—theBSPandtheSP—is that there is so far no re­port sug­gest­ing con­flict be­tween their core vot­ers – Ya­davs and SCs - in any part of the state. “The l o wer­rung lead­ers in both par­ties are very ac­tive at ground level. Un­like in the past, they jointly take up is­sues that may im­pact the grow­ing har­mony be­tween their core vot­ers,” a source in the state’s in­tel­li­gence unit told ET.

Still, ques­tions are be­ing raised over the ways to pro­tect the po­lit­i­cal in­ter­est of all four al­lies in the seat shar­ing ar­range­ment for jointly con­test­ing the 2019 LS polls.

NO ROLE FOR TURNCOATS SP and Congress have vir­tu­ally put a ban on en­try of any per­son from the BSP camp. “Congress is not giv­ing any im­por­tant po­lit­i­cal task to Naseemud­din Sid­diquee while SP has not given any post to In­dra­jeet Saroj and RK Choud­hari, old hands of the BSP, in the party or­gan­i­sa­tion,” a source in Congress pointed out.

MUM ON SHIV­PAL SP is ap­par­ently try­ing to down­play side­lined party leader Shiv­pal Singh Ya­dav’s de­ci­sion to launch his own po­lit­i­cal out­fit, Sa­ma­jwadi Sec­u­lar Mor­cha, in or­der to field his own can­di­date in the 2019

LS polls. BSP,Con­gres­sandRLDhas­so­far­remained silent on Shiv­pal’s lat­est po­lit­i­cal move in the in­ter­est of a pos­si­ble al­liance.

IT’S ABOUT SEATS NOW If BSP walks away with the largest share in the al­liance, SP would like to re­strict the gap to max­i­mum five seats. While Congress’ is said to be eye­ing at least 10 seats un­der any seat-shar­ing ar­range­ment, the al­liance will also have to walk a tightrope on al­lo­cat­ing seats to for­mer Union min­is­ter Ajit Singh-headed RLD. The com­mon prob­lem for the Congress and RLD is that they have lit­tle scope to get the de­sired seats on the ba­sis of their per­for­mance in the 2014LS­elec­tion­sorthe2017UPassem­bly polls.

AN AT­TEMPT TO REACH A CON­SEN­SUS En­sur­ing BSP & SP get at least a seat in ev­ery divi­sion of the state. SP not to ob­ject if BSP gets the largest share, there should not be a dif­fer­ence of more than five seats be­tween the foes­turned-friends. Hold talks with each other be­fore nam­ing the party can­di­date. It is meant to main­tain so­cial bal­ance in se­lec­tion of can­di­dates. The tim­ing for an­nounc­ing the seat-shar­ing for­mula and sub­se­quent list of can­di­dates to be de­cided by all the al­lies. Ex­plore joint elec­tion cam­paign in the 2019 LS polls. BSP and SP are ap­par­ently against the idea of mak­ing this elec­tion as “Modi Vs Rahul” and thus, they are con­cerned about this task. Agree on a mech­a­nism with rebels to deal

A FEW TOUGH ZONES The par­ties are des­per­ately look­ing for the ways for proper dis­tri­bu­tion of re­served seats. UP has 17 re­served seats out of the to­tal 80 seats and SP prefers to field its can­di­dates on th­ese seats.

Since BSP’s per­for­mance is pegged on th­ese re­served con­stituen­cies, it may not be keen­toshare­toomanyof the­seseatswithSP.

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