Lucknow: As the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) announced their gathbandhan (alliance) on Saturday, sharing 38 seats each out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav remained non-committal on supporting BSP chief Mayawati as the Prime Minister face.
When asked if he would support Mayawati’s as a contender for the Prime Minister’s position, Akhilesh said, ‘You know whom I will support. I have said even earlier and I am saying it again today. Uttar Pradesh has always given a Prime Minister and I will be happy that another PM is made from UP.’
Yadav’s response left everyone guessing as PM Narendra Modi as also Congress President Rahul Gandhi are elected to the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh only.
Incidentally, the SP chief had put forth his father and party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s candidature for the PM’s post during an interview last year. In another interview in 2015, Akhilesh had proposed a plan where his father would be the PM face while Rahul Gandhi would be his deputy.
The last few months have witnessed growing clamour for Mayawati as the Dalit PM face for 2019. In fact, in the BSP’s last national executive meeting, resolutions had been passed for not just entering into pre-poll alliances, but also announcing Mayawati as the prime ministerial candidate for 2019.
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‘Will take alliance to next Assembly polls’
In a joint press conference held in Lucknow, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav announced that they would be contesting Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh with their parties contesting 38 seats each out of the 80 parliamentary constituencies in the polls and even take their alliance to the next UP assembly polls.
‘This SP-BSP alliance is a permanent one. It will go on further. And after Lok Sabha elections when state assembly elections take place in Uttar Pradesh, it will carry on even then,’ Mayawati said to a query on the longevity of the alliance.
It was in a meeting held in Delhi on 4 January, Mayawati said, that the details of the alliance were finalised. ‘Out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, BSP and SP will contest 38 each. Two Lok Sabha seats have been left for 1-2 regional parties while two more seats of Rae Bareli and Amethi have been left for the Congress without any alliance with them. We have decided who will contest which seat and details will be shared with you soon,’ said Mayawati.
Sending out a strong message to his party ranks, Akhilesh also said, ‘You will remember that I had earlier said that if need be, I was willing to incur a loss of seats for this alliance. I am grateful to Mayawati ji for respecting us and agreeing to an equal distribution of seats. I want you to remember that any disrespect to Mayawati ji will be disrespecting me.’
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The alliance, presented as an anti-BJP front in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, is expected to witness the consolidation of votes from the backward and Dalit communities. In a state where around 40 per cent of the population belongs to OBC, 20 per cent Dalits and Muslims at 19 per cent, the alliance is likely to upset the the BJP’s stellar performance in the 2014 elections.
In the 2014 elections, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal swept the polls by winning 73 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats. While the BSP could not win a single constituency, the SP had managed to bag five seats and the Congress won two.
However, a closer look at the distribution of votes in the seats won by the BJP and its ally shows that in at least 39 seats, the combination of SP-BSP votes were more than those polled in favour of the winner.