Re-thinking UP Coalition? Akhilesh Says Congress Part of Alliance
After Congress changed gears in Uttar Pradesh with a massive roadshow by Priyanka Gandhi on Monday, 11 February, political equations in Lucknow are indicating a possible shift. One of the first to show a change of intend was Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, who said that the Congress is part of the Opposition alliance in UP.
Talking to reporters, Yadav said on Monday: “This coalition is not only with the BSP, but the Congress is also part of this alliance. RLD has been given three seats, they are also part of it. The Nishad Party is also a part of the alliance. We have contested together in the past. The Peace party has also helped us. In the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, some will be with us and some will be with us in Vidhan Sabha polls too.”
While announcing their alliance, Yadav and his coalition partner Mayawati, chief of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), had made it clear there would not be an alliance with Congress, claiming the alliance wouldn’t benefit from the ‘grand old party’. However, the BSP, SP leaders clarified they would not field candidates in Rae Bareli and Amethi, the constituencies of Congress’ Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
However, speaking to The Wire on 7 February, Yadav took a dig at the Congress for its decision to contest the Lok Sabha elections alone. He said that while BSP, SP and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) were “fighting the election to stop the BJP, others were looking to use the election to build their party.”
A Possible Change in Stand?
The Congress’ decision to appoint Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia as the general secretaries in-charge of UP is believed to the reason for this change in equations for the BSP-SP alliance.
Since the Congress reinforced its stance to contest election in full strength, according to reports, the SP and BSP are now ready to give the Congress 15 seats out of 80. However, Congress has now increased its demand and wants at least 25 seats to join the coalition.
It remains to be seen how alliances in India’s most populous and politically-crucial state evolve.
(With inputs from The Wire and ANI)