Mayawati, the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief and Akhilesh Yadav the Samajwadi Party (SP) chief, announced, in a historic conference held on the 12th of January, a major decision that would have major ramifications on the 2019 Lok-Sabha elections: SP and BSP will be coming together to fight the 2019 general elections.

HOW MANY SEATS WILL BE CONTESTED FOR?

The newly formed alliance will contest 76 out of the total 80 seats in the state. Both the parties will contest 38 seats each, leaving four seats uncontested for by the alliance. Out of these four, two have been left for the Congress and two for others. They have decided against contesting in the constituencies of Rahul Gandhi (Amethi) and Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli). Talks with Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Ajit Singh are on-going regarding the remaining two states.

WHY WAS CONGRESS NOT INCLUDED IN THE ALLIANCE

Mayawati and Akhilesh have stated that their previous alliances with Congress have not been beneficial to them as Congress was not able to transfer vote share to them. “In the past, I have seen that our votes get transferred to the Congress, but not vice-versa. We do not gain from an alliance with the Congress, whereas the vote transfer is perfect in an SP-BSP tie-up,” Mayawati said. Mayawati also added that Congress was not efficient enough while governing the country as they failed to check on the poverty of the country and growing corruption. The irregularities in defense deals were also cited as a major reason.

CONGRESS’S REACTION

Speaking at an event in Dubai, Congress President Rahul Gandhi told media that he had tremendous respect for Mayawati and that as independent political parties, they (the BSP & SP) have the right to do whatever they deem fit for their party’s future. He further mentioned that the Congress will fight the election on its own.

However, senior Congress leader and former finance minister P.Chidambaram said that he hopes that the alliance is “not the last word”. He mentioned that reconsideration of the alliance is possible as the elections approach.

WHERE DOES THE MAHAGATHBANDHAN STAND?

The exclusion of Congress from the alliance is a huge setback for them, especially considering that the Congress was eyeing a grand alliance to take on BJP in the general elections. Losing out on the alliance is a huge numerical disadvantage for the Congress and leaves slim chances for the Mahagathbandhan dream to come true. While some regional parties like the Trinamool Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal have welcomed the alliance, the fight just got tougher for Congress with none of the major parties in Uttar Pradesh willing to fight alongside it.

WHAT IS IN STORE FOR BJP?

Alongside the announcement of the alliance, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav accused BJP of unleashing an undeclared democracy in the country. Mayawati went on to say that “Just as the Bofors scam uprooted the Congress, the BJP will witness the same fate because of its involvement in the Rafale scam”. She added that “This press conference will rob the guru-chela of their sleep”.

The ruling party was quick to come out with a rebuttal to the conference. The party called it an alliance for survival. The current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adiyanath said the SP-BSP alliance was a “coalition of casteist, corrupt and opportunistic”. He went on to add that this alliance “does not want development and good governance” and promised that “the BJP won’t win any less seats than it won in 2014”.

It remains to be seen what effect will this alliance have on the national scale of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but one thing is for certain: Uttar Pradesh is going to be jungle with four lions fighting for the throne. Only time will tell if it will make the state bleed or shine.

Sources: India Today, HT
Image Credits: TOI

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