2019 Lok Sabha elections: Akhilesh, Maya close to pact

2019 Lok Sabha elections: Akhilesh, Maya close to pact

Former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati. PTI file photos

The Samajwadi Party (SP) and BSP are close to sealing their alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the next Lok Sabha polls in 2019 to counter the BJP in the state, which sends 80 members to the lower house.

According to sources in the SP, Ajit Singh's RLD is part of the Grand Alliance but Congress was kept out of it.

Sources said the seat-sharing formula was "almost" finalised between the two regional satraps. The SP would contest 37 seats while the BSP would be given 38 seats. Three seats would be given to the RLD.

Even though the Congress has not been included, the alliance will not be fielding anyone in Amethi and Raebareli, which is represented by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, respectively.

Neither SP nor BSP leaders here confirmed the seat-sharing arrangements but sources in the SP said the alliance was "more or less sealed".

Congress leaders in the state said that they are not aware of the pact and refused to comment until any official confirmation. "We will react only when it is announced officially," a senior state Congress leader here.
Sources also said that the two regional satraps felt that keeping the Congress out would "dent" the BJP as the grand old party would be "cutting into the upper-caste votes".

Some SP leaders, however, did not rule out leaving out a few seats, especially where the Muslim votes are decisive, to the Congress to avoid division of "secular votes".

Significantly, SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav had said that Rahul was not the "automatic" choice for the post of prime minister of the Opposition alliance. "The issue (of who will be PM) can be decided after the LS polls," he remarked.

Akhilesh and Mayawati had also skipped the oath-taking ceremonies of the three Congress chief ministers in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh on Monday indicating that they were not ready to accommodate the Congress in UP.