SP-BSP alliance: A key part of the jigsaw in place
With tie-ups in place for over 350 seats, the focus is now on the BJP’S moves
One more important piece of the jigsaw that is the Indian parliamentary elections fell into place with the declaration by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party on Saturday that they would fight the elections together in Uttar Pradesh and contest 38 seats each. That will account for 76 of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats. The two parties have decided not to contest the elections in Amethi and Rae Bareli, the pocket boroughs of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi. They have also decided to allow two seats for smaller partners; these may go to the Rashtriya Lok Dal (which might be placated by the SP giving it one or two more seats from its share).
With a little over three months to go for the elections (if they are held when the 2009 and 2014 elections were), alliances are now in place (or soon will be) in several key states: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamilnadu,maharashtra,andhrapradesh,telangana,andkarnataka.thecongressandthebharatiyajanataparty(bjp)usuallygo head-to-headingujarat,rajasthan,madhyapradesh,andchhattisgarh. That’s around 350 seats for which alliances have been struck, although there will be some changes as even state-level alliances become broader.
Interestingly, almost all these political moves have been among the opposition parties. There have been several exits from the National Democratic Alliance in recent months. Sure, the BJP’S president has said in the past that the only way the party can retain its dominance is by winning over 50% votes in each constituency (a goal that precludes the possibility and necessity of alliances), but given the unlikeliness of this, the next few months could see frenetic activity by the party to repair fraying relationships and forge new ones. That won’t be easy. The problem with being the dominant force at the Centre and in most states is that a party becomes the common enemy of others.