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
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.