SP-BSP electoral tie-up leaves Cong isolated in UP

SP-BSP electoral tie-up leaves Cong isolated in UP

SP-BSP electoral tie-up leaves Cong isolated in UP

Battling to remain electorally relevant in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, Congress finds itself ''isolated'' following an undeclared electoral understanding between arch rivals BSP and Samajwadi Party (SP) to defeat BJP in the forthcoming Lok Sabha by-polls to Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituencies.

Although state Congress president Raj Babbar put up a brave face and sought to make little of the understanding, senior party leaders were worried as they felt that the party could find itself pushed to the back burner if the ''experiment'' in the LS by-polls succeeded.

''SP and BSP may formally stitch an electoral alliance in the next LS polls in 2019 if they are able to even substantially reduce the margins in Phulpur and Gorakhpur if not wrest the seats from BJP,'' said a senior state Congress leader here.

Congress, which had contested the 2017 UP assembly polls in alliance with the SP, wanted the alliance to continue and had sought Phulpur seat from the SP on the ground that former prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru had once represented it in the Lok Sabha.

Cong puts pressure

Congress declared its nominees for both the seats in a bid to put pressure on the SP after it categorically rejected the demand, said sources. Congress nominees had lost their security deposits in both the seats in 2014 LS polls.

''Given the reports that efforts to form a third front sans Congress have already started, the SP-BSP combine may well join the same leaving the Congress to fend for itself in the state,'' political analyst J P Shukla told DH.

Congress could win only Raebareli and Amethi seats in the 2014 LS polls in UP.