Fighting the perception of being an additional shop in an already crowded market and a 'vote katwa' (vote divider), Shivpal Singh Yadav led Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) (PSPL) is seeking to establish its identity as a credible secular political alternative in the state's realpolitik.
The PSPL is organising a big rally and aims to be make it "historic" in crowd participation in Lucknow on December 9.
The PSPL has pinned its hopes on exploiting the contradictions in the proposed Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance to create a political space for itself during 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
"We are not a 'vote katwa' party. Instead, we are a mainstream secular political party committed to fighting communal forces in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections," said former Rajya Sabha member Veerpal Singh, who switched from Samajwadi Party to the PSPL.
Without naming Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Singh said, "Those who are trying to discredit us as the B team of Bharatiya Janata Party should explain their conduct and their relations with the BJP."
"In fact, it is not us but Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party who were cronies of the BJP. Both parties, despite their negligible or no existence in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, contested almost all assembly seats there and this will benefit the BJP. The three poll-bound states are known for bipolar polity where Congress and BJP are locked in a direct contest. There is no space for a third player yet the SP and BSP fielded candidates there to divide anti-BJP votes," charged Veerpal Singh.
The former leader of SP said, "Akhilesh not only fielded candidates from all assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, he also aggressively campaigned against the Congress. But he has the audacity to call us the B team of BJP."
A former minister in Akhilesh Yadav government and now a confidant of Shivpal Yadav, Singh said, "All is not well between the SP and the BSP as the latter has conceded only 33 seats to the former and kept the rest 47 for itself (in UP). The BSP has also asked the SP to accommodate Congress, Nishad Party, Peace Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal from its quota of 33 seats."
"The SP is expected to leave two seats -- Amethi and Rae Bareli -- as per traditional understanding for Congress, three for Rashtriya Lok Dal, the seat of Dumariyaganj for Peace Party and one seat for Nishad party. The effective tally of the SP will then be 26 seats.
With this, there will be no SP candidate on as many as 54 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP. "The 54 seats are equal to the total seats of Bihar and Jharkhand. On the other hand, the PSPL will field its candidates on all 54 seats and most of these candidates will be from the SP," Singh said.