Grand alliance talks between SP, Cong & RLD enter final stretch
If all goes well, a grand alliance on the lines of Bihar is soon set to become a reality in Uttar Pradesh. The grand alliance comprising Samajwadi Party (SP), Congress, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and JD(U) has become the need of the hour to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), that is slowly but steadily carving out an edge in the crucial upcoming Assembly elections in the state.
According to party insiders, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is in Delhi and is most likely that an alliance would be announced in the next few days. There are reports that the Congress want the position of deputy CM as part of the deal. “The SP may set aside 100 seats for the two major allies — Congress and RLD and keep the rest with it. The Congress, having 28 seats in the outgoing Assembly, may get 78 seats to showcase its strength, while Ajit Singh-led RLD, which won 9 seats in the 2012 elections, may fight on with something between 12 and 22 seats,” the party insider said.
“The alliance is imminent as speculations are rife that a huge chunk of backward votes may go to the BJP, which would be a major dent for the SP. It’s the fear of losing backward votes to the BJP that has forced Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to stretch the Scheduled Caste list by adding 17 Other Backward Classes (OBCs) into the SC list,” a political expert said, adding that the JD(U) would also join the grand alliance bandwagon and the party, which is eyeing the Patel vote bank, may get 2 seats to contest.
It may be recalled that a grand alliance of the JD(U), RJD and Congress triumphed in the Bihar Assembly elections of 2015. According to a few reports, the Congress and SP have had backdoor negotiations on a possible tie up since a fortnight. Earlier, Akhilesh Yadav had also said a possible alliance between the Congress and the SP may fetch 300 plus seats.
The understanding is that if the three parties fail to unite then it would become a straight contest between the BJP and BSP. Even the SP stands to lose a chunk of upper castes in case it fights against all the other parties. Even Congress stands to benefit as it has no organisational structure in Uttar Pradesh and with an SP-alliance, its candidate can get the minority votes which as of now lie with Mulayam Singh Yadav. Lastly, RLD’s presence would strengthen the SP in western UP where there is often a straight fight between the BSP and the BJP.
Insiders also add that the alliance should be announced at the earliest for early distribution of election tickets and ample time to project Akhilesh Yadav as the Chief Ministerial candidate.
For now, the ball is in Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s court.