It’s official, well almost. The media on Friday received an invite from Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav for a joint press conference in Lucknow. In the election year, two party chiefs coming together for a joint presser translates into an announcement for an alliance. Scheduled to be held at Lucknow’s Taj Hotel, the SP and BSP chiefs are likely to declare the seat-sharing formula for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections tomorrow. There are reports that split with the Congress is imminent, at least in Uttar Pradesh. This is not good news for either Congress or ruling BJP as both SP and BSP have good presence in the state. Confirming the news, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh said that, "Yes, I am part of the Mahagathbandhan." However, he said that he has no information about the Lucknow press conference.
The formidable alliance will impact the poll mandate. It will specially hit BJP as the saffron party had won 71 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 General Elections. The importance of this alliance can be gauged from the fact that during the debate for the Forward Quota Bill in Parliament, several Opposition parties had alleged that the Narendra Modi government brought the Bill because it was afraid of the impact SP and BSP will cause in Uttar Pradesh.
On January 6, Akhilesh Yadav had indicated about the alliance announcement later in the week. Earlier, statements made by Mayawati and Akhilesh have hinted that both the parties are not too keen to cede space to the Congress in the seat sharing deal in Uttar Pradesh. Yadav had met BSP chief in New Delhi on January 3 to finalise the contours of the seat sharing agreement ahead of the general elections.
Earlier, News Nation had reported that the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party are coming together for a pre-poll alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. According to the sources, the Samajwadi Party will contest 37 seats while the Bahujan Samaj Party will fight on 38 of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies. Three seats - Baghpat, Mathura, Kairana - will go to Ajit Singh's RLD. Singh is likely to contest from his stronghold Baghpat while his son Jayant Choudhary will once again contest from Mathura. BJP's Hema Malini had defeated Jayant from Mathura constituency in 2014. The alliance, however, will not field its candidates on Amethi and Raebareli - the traditional seats of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.