Maya seeks more UP seats, asks SP to hu­mour al­lies from its own quota

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - NAMITA BAJPAI

THE Ma­ha­gath­band­han seat­shar­ing ex­er­cise for Ut­tar Pradesh ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elec­tions was con­firmed, but the fi­nal shape of the al­liance could not be thrashed out fol­low­ing Bahu­jan Sa­ma­jwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati’s in­sis­tence on more seats, post a broad agree­ment to share seats equally at par­leys with the Sa­ma­jwadi Party (SP) in New Delhi on Fri­day.

The BSP is learnt to have in­di­cated that the ap­por­tion­ing of seats — 37 each to lead play- ers (SP and it­self) — does not suf­fice, and that SP chief Akhilesh Singh Ya­dav could, per­haps, ac­com­mo­date the al­lies from his own quota.

Con­se­quently, a fi­nal de­ci­sion on the struc­ture of the al­liance stands de­ferred till Jan­uary 15 at least.

The larger con­sen­sus within both par­ties is to keep the Congress out of the anti-BJP tie-up, though sources said the fi­nal shape of the al­liance was “not yet firmed”. The BSP and SP re­port­edly felt the Congress’ de­mand for up to 18 seats was not fea­si­ble.

Ut­tar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha seats, the high­est in the coun­try of which, the BJP had won 71 in 2015.

Though ne­go­ti­a­tions for seat shar­ing be­tween the part­ners are said to be con­clud­ing, the BSP’s hard-nosed bar­gain­ing has caught the SP, which is still wary of fi­nally clos­ing the door on the Congress, off guard.

A highly-placed func­tionary in one of the par­ties said, a for­mal an­nounce­ment on the al­liance is likely to be made in Lucknow by Mayawati and Akhilesh on Jan­uary 15 and the Congress seems out of the equa­tion “for now”.

Dur­ing their par­leys in Delhi, Akhilesh and Mayawati ap­par­ently ar­rived at a ‘broad un­der­stand­ing’ to fight on equal num­ber of seats — 37 each — in Ut­tar Pradesh, leav­ing six to oth­ers, of which Ame­thi and Rae Bareli will be left to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chair­per­son So­nia Gandhi, re­spec­tively. Nei­ther SP nor BSP will field can­di­dates in these seats.

They also de­cided that of the re­main­ing four seats, two — Bagh­pat and Mathura — may be given to the Rashtriya Lok Dal, while other two will be kept aside to ac­com­mo­date prospec­tive al­lies like OP Ra­jb­har’s Suheldev Bharatiya Sa­maj Party (SBSP) and Apna Dal (Kr­ishna Pa­tel), if they join the al­liance. No­tably Ra­jb­har, a min­is­ter in the Yogi cab­i­net has ex­pressed his de­sire to leave the NDA.

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