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Mayawati, Akhilesh announce Uttar Pradesh seat-sharing details

Lucknow: Over a month after announcing an alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced the allocation of seats to each partner on Thursday.

In a statement, SP President Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati announced that while the SP will contest on 37 seats, the BSP will fight on 38. Amethi and Rae Bareli - the pocket boroughs of the Gandhi family - have been left for the Congress.

Two seats were initially allocated to the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) but now SP has given one more seat from its quota to Ajit Singh's party.

The three seats left for the RLD are Muzaffarnagar, Mathura and Baghpat. Presently, it holds the Kairana seat which it won in a by-poll.

The announcement officially turns the battle for Uttar Pradesh considered the gateway to Delhi - a three-cornered fight.

While Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had said the Congress will contest all 80 seats in the state, a section within the party still held onto feeble hopes of a rethink by Mayawati after the entry of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into active politics.

But the Dalit leader - who had been hugely cut up with the Congress after seat-sharing talks for the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh fell through - has refused to blink.

Last week, she even criticised the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh, where her lone lawmaker is supporting the government.

Under the arrangement announced Thursday, Yadav's party will contest some of the key urban seats - Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad and Jhansi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency Varanasi and Yogi Adityanath's stronghold Gorakhpur will also go to the party.

Mayawati's party will contest the seats in Meerut, Agra, Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida), Aligarh, Saharanpur.

Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, however, struck a discordant note, making clear that he is miffed with the alliance forged by his son and party president Akhilesh Yadav with the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Yadav expressed unhappiness over the pact ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, questioning why Akhilesh Yadav gave half the seats to Mayawati's party.

The remarks come days after SP patriarch created a

stir in Parliament, saying he wished that PM Modi returns to power.

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