After disintegration over seat-sharing in West Bengal and Bihar, INDI Alliance seems to be struggling for its survival in Uttar Pradesh too as the Samajwadi Party (SP) is in no mood to confer desired seats to the Congress.
The first example of this was seen when the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP announced Lok Sabha candidates for 16 seats unilaterally, apparently without discussing it with the Congress.
Moreover, reportedly, Congress wanted to contest five of these 16 seats, which are of Sambhal, Dhaurhara, Faizabad, Lakhimpur Kheri and Lucknow. Barabanki was also a seat that Congress wanted.
However, the SP has challenged the Congress to suggest more winnable candidates for these seats and then only the SP will take back its claim on these seats.
Reportedly, the seat-sharing talks were still ongoing when the SP announced its candidates sending a message to the Congress that the party would not leave these seats.
Some Congress leaders described it as a "pressure tactic" of the SP. Since then, there has been no conversation among the leaders and the state Congress unit has left it to the high command to deal with the situation.
Some progress is expected when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will enter UP on 16 February. Jairam Ramesh has pledged to share its detailed plan with INDI Alliance parties and urged them to join.
The major bone of contention in seat-sharing is that Congress seems to be bargaining on the basis of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when the Congress won 21 seats, while Akhilesh Yadav is bargaining on current strength.
This comes days after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's exit from the INDI Alliance and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has pledged to "not share a single seat" with the Congress in the state.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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