With the euphoria generated by the alliance followed by the mega meet of Opposition leaders at Kolkata, the Samajwadi party and the Bahujan Samaj Party are grappling with the ‘real politik’ of seat sharing. Both the parties are also grappling with the dissidence as many aspirants will not be able to contest the election following the alliance.
The entry of Priyanka Gandhi has added to the woes of the fledgling alliance. The move has come as a setback for the SP-BSP alliance as it has created fresh avenues for the prospective Lok Sabha candidates of both SP and BSP but denied opportunity to contest as both the parties have shared 38 seats each and rest for the small parties. The SP, BSP appeared over confident of their electoral arithmetic comprising of the SC, OBCs and minorities.
“The likely improvement in the electoral fortune of the Congress has brought a new hope for those SP and BSP leaders who were at the dead end of their political career because of the alliance of the two parties. Now they have the option of knocking at the door of the Congress,’’ said a political an analyst.
“Entry of Priyanka Gandhi could be setback for the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance. The strategist of the SP-BSP were confident that there will be direct fight with the BJP, now the electoral battle is likely to be triangular which may benefit the BJP’’, said the Rajya Sabha MP of the Samajwadi party. He added, “The forceful entry of the Congress could also create dilemma for the Muslim voters and providing credible alternative to the rebels of SP, BSP and the BJP’’.
BSP former MP refusing to be identified said, “The SP-BSP leaders should have made efforts for the honourable accommodation of the Congress in the alliance’’. He said this would have sealed the fate of the BJP and the tally of the ruling party at the Centre could have been reduced to a single digit.
“If 2017 UP Assembly election is the benchmark, then the alliance plus Congress would have secured 52.08% vote share as compared to 39.67% of the BJP.” said the BSP leader.
Political observers say that voters, particularly Muslims, have not forgotten Mayawati’s decision to take the BJP’s support to form the Government in Lucknow in 1995, and later in 1997 and 2002. They say these voters will not rule out the possibility of this happening again if the Opposition fails to unseat Narendra Modi and the BJP at the Centre. There is this fear amongst Muslims that Mayawati could switch sides after the elections if she is not in a powerful position. This assumption that Muslims will vote only for the alliance is somehow misplaced.”
UP Congress general secretary Onkar Nath Singh said, “All sections of the society are looking at the Congress as a possible alternative on seats that will be contested by BSP and SP. If they feel the Congress is in a strong position, they could end up voting for the Congress instead of the alliance.”
The last time the SP and BSP had joined hands was for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 1993, when the BJP was riding the Hindutva wave after the demolition of the Babri Masjid the previous year.