SP-BSP: will the math add up?

BSP supremo Mayawati being greeted with a bouquet from Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav during a joint press conference in Lucknow. PTI

The most important alliance of parties to fight the Lok Sabha elections due in the next few weeks has been put in place in Uttar Pradesh with the coming together of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). UP holds the key to power at the Centre as the state has 80 Lok Sabha seats. The BJP’s hopes for a return to power depend largely on its performance in UP, where it had won 71 seats in 2014. That victory was achieved when there was a four-way split of votes in the state among the SP and the BSP, which are the major players, and the Congress and the BJP and its allies. The SP-BJP alliance will prevent the division of votes among the two parties and pose a serious challenge to the BJP. Going by their vote share in the 2017 assembly elections in the state, they have a decisive advantage over the BJP. 

The alliance has left out the Congress, leaving only two seats — Amethi and Rae Bareli — for it. The two parties will contest 38 sets each, leaving two seats to their ally, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), in western UP. The alliance leaders — Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati — have indicated that a tie-up with the Congress would not help them but indeed could damage their prospects. This may be a bargaining tactic, because even on its worst day the Congress had about 7% support in the state. A piqued Congress has announced that it would contest all 80 seats in the state. The idea of a common front against the BJP, which most opposition parties in the country share, will suffer a setback if that does not become a reality in the electorally most important state. 

The effectiveness of the alliance has been tested in recent by-elections to the Lok Sabha from UP, where it could defeat the BJP even in Gorakhpur, which was the constituency of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. So, the logic of the arithmetic of the alliance is all too clear. A combination of the BSP’s Dalit vote base and the support of the backward castes and Muslims for the SP is formidable. The challenge is whether the votes would be mutually transferred and aggregated at the state level, as it was done at the constituency level in the by-elections. The BJP still remains a strong electoral force with many aces up its sleeve. But it is also true that the mood of voters now is different from that in 2014, as was evident when the BJP suffered serious blows in the Hindi heartland states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. 

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry

Comments:

SP-BSP: will the math add up?

0 comments

Write the first review for this !