Uttar Pradesh

Barely Two Weeks After Results, SP Setting Conditions For By-Polls Arrangement With Congress: Reports

Nishtha Anushree

Jun 19, 2024, 01:20 PM | Updated 01:20 PM IST

Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi
Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi

Within just a fortnight of the Lok Sabha election results, the INDI Alliance partners have started setting conditions for a continued alliance in Uttar Pradesh.

This is despite the fact that the Samajwadi Party (SP)-Congress alliance won 43 seats in the state, while the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) could win only 37.

The recent rift comes in the backdrop of expected by-polls for 10 Assembly seats. While the Congress seeks to share some of these seats to contest, the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP has set a condition.

According to Amar Ujala, the SP said that it would share seats with the Congress only if the Congress agrees to share seats in the upcoming Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly elections.

The two states are set to go to polls later this year but accommodating SP will be difficult for the Congress as it already has allies in these states.

In Haryana, the Congress gave one seat to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to contest in Lok Sabha elections. In Maharashtra, it contested in alliance with Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP).

These parties will also be expecting a seat-sharing arrangement for the Assembly elections, making it challenging for the Congress to accommodate another ally SP.

The basis of SP's demands is that two seats were won by the party in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections and one in 2014, while in Haryana, the SP expects the Muslim-Yadav vote bank to work in its favour.

The Congress knows the importance of SP for its revival in UP as the party came to six Lok Sabha seats in 2024 from just one in 2019 due to an alliance with the SP. Its vote share also increased.

In 2019, it could get only 6.36 per cent votes despite contesting 67 seats, while in 2024, it got 9.46 per cent votes by contesting only 17 seats. Hence, the Congress is expected to bow down before the SP.

SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary has said that the party leadership will take time to decide on an alliance with Congress for the by-polls.

Seats set for by-polls

The 10 Assembly seats in UP were vacated due to the election of nine MLAs to the Lok Sabha in the recently concluded General Elections, while the Sisamau seat in Kanpur was vacated due to the conviction of an SP MLA.

SP MLA Haji Irfan Solanki was convicted this year on the charges of arson, assault and threatening to kill after the victim widow accused him of setting her house on fire to encroach on her land.

Solanki was then sentenced to seven years of imprisonment, leading to his disqualification as MLA under the Representation of People Act which says that on over two years of sentence, the elected representative will lose membership.

Of the remaining nine seats, four had incumbent SP MLAs, three had BJP MLAs while one MLA each was of BJP allies NISHAD party and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).

SP's Akhilesh Yadav, Awadhesh Prasad, Lalji Verma and Ziyaur Rahman Barq won from Kannauj, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar and Sambhal respectively vacating Karhal, Milkipur, Katehari and Kundarki respectively.

BJP's Anoop Pradhan Valmiki, Atul Garg and Praveen Patel won from Hathras, Ghaziabad and Phulpur respectively vacating Khair, Ghaziabad and Phulpur Assembly seats respectively.

RLD's Chandan Chauhan was elected from Bijnor vacating Meerapur Assembly seat and NISHAD party's Vinod Kumar Bind was elected from Bhadohi vacating the Majhawan Assembly seat.

Since none of these seats had an incumbent Congress MLA, the SP will bargain hard to let Congress contest on any. However, the contest is set to be interesting as the rival blocs held five seats each.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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