SP-BSP al­liance: A key part of the jig­saw in place

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - COMMENT -

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.

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