The big brother attitude of Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav in seat sharing talks with Congress is emerging as a roadblock in an amicable settlement ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
In a clear signal to the Congress that he is the boss in Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav gave a hint of the hard bargaining ahead by saying “SP is not demanding seats but giving them”.
Akhilesh Yadav also claimed that his party will get 60 per cent of the votes in the Lok Sabha election. This indicated that the SP is adamant on contesting maximum number of seats and conceding a few seats to the Congress, the only national party in the INDIA bloc.
According to sources, the SP is not ready to leave more than five-six Lok Sabha seats for the Congress in UP in the next general elections, but the latter is insisting on around two dozen seats.
The sources said that the basis of seat sharing should be Congress’ performance in UP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when the grand old party won the lone seat of Rae Bareli from where former Congress president Sonia Gandhi was elected as MP. Congress had lost even in its stronghold, Amethi, where former Congress president Rahul Gandhi lost to Union Minister Smriti Irani.
Congress, on the other hand, wants 2009 parliamentary polls to be the basis of seat sharing. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Congress had won 21 seats in UP on its own.
“We want at least 18 seats where we think we can win,” said a UP Congress leader when queried about the seat-sharing talks with the SP.
The Akhilesh Yadav-led party is not ready to concede the Congress demand.
SP leaders pointed out that the party would also have to leave some seats for Rashtriya Lok Dal in the western region.
“We also have to accommodate Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar and Apna Dal (Kamerawadi),” said a senior SP leader.
The sources said that the recent exchange of barbs between UP Congress president Ajay Rai and SP leaders was the result of SP’s reluctance to concede to the Congress demand. Rai had accused the SP of “backstabbing” by fielding its candidate in Bageshwar assembly constituency of Uttarakhand, where a bypoll was held recently, as a result of which the Congress candidate lost to his Bharatiya Janata Party rival by a slender margin. Rai also said that his party was ready to contest all the 80 Lok Sabha seats of UP in the next general election.
Akhilesh Yadav has asked the party cadre to get down to work to ensure that the party gets at least 60 per cent votes in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
He said that the “struggle to save democracy and the Constitution through the 2024 Lok Sabha elections would be no less than a revolution”. He said that in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, the PDA (Pichhada, Dalit, Alpsankhyak (backwards, Dalits and minorities) and all others would make the SP win.