If Sense Prevails There Is Still Possibility of a Congress-BSP-SP Alliance in UP
First wish list of the Congress of 11 seats accommodates SP-BSP interests
NEW DELHI: The Congress party has announced candidates for 11 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in what has become a rather illogical confrontation between the Opposition parties in the state. However, a closer look at the seats announced gives an indication that this is the Congress wish list and could stop at that if the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party were to accept its claims to what Ahmad Patel had earlier said, “a double digit” figure for the state.
Of the 11, two are what the BSP-SP had left for the Congress first family, Amethi and Rae Bareilly. Despite the supposed break down in talks between the three parties, this offer had not been withdrawn.
The remaining list of nine candidates includes hey include Jitian Prasada, (Dhaurahra), Annu Tandon (Unnao), RPN Singh (Kushi Nagar), Nirmal Kathri (Faizabad), Salman Khursheed (Farrukhabad), Salim Sherrwani (Badaun),Imran Masood (Saharanpur), Rajaram Pal (Akbarpur), Brij Lal Khabri (Jalaun-SC).
A look at the nine:
Farrukhabad: Salman Khursheed had won this seat in 2009, and lost the last elections to the BJP. It cannot be claimed as a traditional seat by the SP that had won this in 1999 and 2004. However, Farrukhabad has like most UP seats voted traditionally for the Congress but then moved towards the Janta Party and subsequently the BJP that opened its account here in 1996 for the first tiime.
Not a seat that the BSP or SP would be reluctant to give to the Congress party.
Dhaurahra: This constituency, spread over Lakhimpur Kheri and Sitapur districts came into existence in 2008 as a part of the implementation of delimitation of parliamentary constituencies based on the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission of India constituted in 2002. It has seen two general elections, the first won by the Congress party, the second in 2014 by the BJP.
A seat that the BSP and SP can easily relinquish to the Congress party.
Unnao: Again not a seat that the BSP or SP can claim with passion, as both of these have won this once each. The voters have exercised their ballot for the Congress and the BJP with the Janata Party wresting this from the Congress in 1977. Since then the voters here have been without straight loyalties, voting for the BJP, and the Congress intermittently. In 2014 the seat was won by the BJP.
A constituency that the SP and BSP might be quite happy to give up, as it could see a bit of a tussle as both are equal claimants.
Kushi Nagar: This constituency also came into existence in the 1980 delimitation exercise. It has seen only two general elections with the Congress party winning the seat in 2009, and the BJP in 2014. The SP and BSP are not registered here for the moment.
A seat that the Congress can claim without protest from the other two opposition parties.
Faizabad: A constituency with a decided Congress stamp. The SP and BSP have won this seat only once each, with the Congress securing it in 2009 to lose it to the BJP in 2014. Faiazabad has seen political churning with the voters bringing in the Bharatiya Lok Dal, Communist Party of India, the BJP, BSP, SP and of course the Congress in the different elections since independence.
Again a seat that the Congress can easily claim as its own for the 2019 polls.
Badaun: This is one seat where the Congress could face trouble from the Samajwadi party whose Darmendra Yadav defied the BJP wave in the last elections to win. In fact he is a two term MP. However, the Congress wants to field old Samajwadi party member Saleem Iqbal Shervani from this seat.He has won four consecutive parliamentary elections from here 1996-2004.
Yadav, however, will not give this up easily and it remains to be seen which party finally backs off.
Saharanpur: Before the BJP won this seat in 2014, it had been held twice by the BSP and once by the SP in the past three elections. And before that again twice by the BJP. In fact the Congress last held this Lok Sabha seat in 1984.But its candidate won the Assembly elections last year, leading clearly to the claim now. The BSP had won this seat in the last Assembly polls.
This could be a slightly troublesome seat unless the BSP is prepared to accommodate the Congress despite Mayawati’s public assertions. The SP certainly has little interest in this constituency.
Akbarpur: This is also a new constituency under delimitation. The Congress party won the parliamentary elections here in 2009. And the BJP in 2014. Neither the SP nor the BSP claim this seat.
Jalaun-SC: Interestingly despite being a reserved Scheduled Caste seat the BSP won here only in 1999 afer which the BJP, SP, BJP secured the constituency in that order. The Congress party too barely exists here, having last won the polls in 1984.
This is an uncertain seat certainly in terms of coalition accommodation.
However, all said and done of the 11 seats at least nine claimed by the Congress party steer clear of BSP and SP claims in terms of past elections and votes. Sources said that the talks were on and the Congress could agree to 11 for a broader coalition against the BJP in UP. When asked about coalitions at his press conference yesterday Congress President Rahul Gandhi admitted that it had not worked out with Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi because of the state party, but “all other talks are on track.”
So far the Congress has remained well within the waters that take little time in turning into a storm in UP. It now remains to be seen whether this first wish list is accommodated and an alliance sealed, or the Congress continues to announce candidates for the 80 seats that remains its public position till now. The BSP has to be placated to support the coalition with Akhilesh Yadav still presenting the more benign face of the coalition.