Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav is set to kick off his party's campaign for the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections with a public address in the Sirmour constituency of Rewa district on Wednesday (27 September).
During his two-day visit to Madhya Pradesh, Yadav will engage in several meetings with the SP's state leadership. After a public rally in Sirmour, where the party has nominated former BJP MLA Laxman Tewari as its candidate, he will convene meetings with party workers in Khajuraho before returning to Lucknow on Thursday.
Party officials in Madhya Pradesh have indicated that the SP is gearing up to contest all available seats in the state, with the primary competition expected to be between the BJP and the Congress.
Despite both the SP and the Congress being part of the INDI Alliance, they appear to be headed for a contest in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and other states where elections are scheduled later this year. In Chhattisgarh, the SP is contemplating contesting as many as 40 out of the total 90 assembly segments.
Insiders from the party suggest that the SP's decision to participate in the assembly elections this year is aimed at securing a strong position at the negotiation table for seat-sharing in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
So far, the party has announced candidates for six seats in Madhya Pradesh, including Dhauhani (ST) and Chitrangi (ST) in Sidhi district within the Vindhya region, as well as Mehgaon, Bhander (SC), Niwari, and Rajnagar in the Bundelkhand and Gwalior-Chambal regions, all situated near the Uttar Pradesh border.
In the 2018 Assembly elections, the Congress won three of these six seats and secured the second position in two, while the SP bagged second position at one seat- Niwari.
The President of SP's Madhya Pradesh unit, Ramayan Singh Patel, has clarified that the alliance between the SP and the Congress is intended for the Lok Sabha elections, not for state elections.
He stated that the decision regarding the state elections would be made by the national leadership, and he has been instructed by Akhilesh Yadav to prepare candidates for all seats in the state.
Among the key issues that the party is likely to emphasize in the Madhya Pradesh polls are a monthly allowance of over Rs 3,000 for unemployed youth, government-backed business loans for young entrepreneurs, and debt relief for farmers, as per Patel.
Additionally, Patel had previously mentioned that the party's leadership had called for a caste-based census in the state.
Notably, another member of the INDI Alliance, Aam Aadmi Party, (AAP) too has expressed its desire to contest all 230 seats in the state and has declared candidates for 10 seats until now.
In the 2018 state elections, no party secured a clear majority. The Congress emerged as the largest single party with 114 seats in the 230-member House, followed by the BJP with 109 seats.
A coalition government under Kamal Nath was formed with the support of the SP, BSP, and Independent candidates. However, this government fell apart after 15 months when a faction of Congress MLAs, mostly loyal to Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, joined the BJP.
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