Millennium Post

SP, BSP almost certain to unite in LS polls… minus Congress

New Delhi: In a major political development, the much-awaited pre-poll alliance between Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for the coming Lok Sabha elections is all set to happen… but without the Congress. Despite ideological differences, the two regional satraps have decided to forge a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) in Uttar Pradesh to keep the BJP away.

The decision in this regard was taken after presidents of both the parties — Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati — held a series of meetings in Delhi and Lucknow. Strategically, both the parties (SP and BSP) have 'decided' to keep the 'grand old party' (Congress) out of the mahagathbandhan while the Rashtriya Lok Dal, which has a strong presence in western UP, would be the part of the grand alliance.

However, instead of making an attempt to be a part of the proposed alliance, the Congress has made it clear that it would go it alone in the politically crucial state that sends 80 members in the Lok Sabha. According to political experts, the proposed alliance without Congress may be a part of their strategy to win the votes of Brahmins in the state. That total vote percentage of Brahmins in UP is 9 per cent.

"If all the Opposition parties in state come under one roof as part of a mahagathbandhan, it's a possibility that Congress may not be able to get the votes of Brahmins. But when it would go to the polls alone, the chances are very high that Congress would also get the support of upper caste as well minorities and others," the political expert said.

"The Congress has already tried and tested this formula in the recently held Assembly elections of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where it had not forged an alliance with the BSP and SP. The formula worked in favour of the Congress as with the support of the Brahmins votes, the party won these elections," he said.

Senior Congressman and Rajya Sabha MP P L Punia said his party is preparing to contest alone. "A coalition is not important... Our workers are ready... We have not spoken to anyone about an alliance," he said.

SP national Spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said, "There has been an in-principal approval for the grand alliance and there is a possibility that an announcement in this regard will be made by the month-end."

In another major development, the Congress and NCP have decided to contest an equal number of seats out of the 48 in Maharashtra. Both the parties would contest 20 seats each while the remaining 8 seats would be shared among other 'like-minded' parties.

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