Lok Sabha Election 2019

SP, BSP meeting triggers tie-up speculations in State

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Leaders of both parties say nothing confirmed

With no headway in its discussions with the Congress, State leaders of the Samajwadi Party (SP) met representatives of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Wednesday to discuss an alliance for the Lok Sabha elections. The parties, which are contesting the election together in Uttar Pradesh, are likely to join hands in Maharashtra as well.

While the SP-BSP alliance in U.P. sidelined the Congress altogether, in Maharashtra, the SP was keen on contesting with the Congress “to keep communal forces at bay.” SP had demanded one seat in the Mumbai region — either Mumbai South, Mumbai South Central, Bhiwandi, Mumbai North West or Mumbai North Central.

The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), however, refused to cede these seats to the SP and instead, gave it the option of contesting either Mumbai North or Jalna.

With no breakthrough in the stand-off, SP was left to explore the only remaining option — that of the BSP. The BSP had earlier announced it will contest all 48 seats in Maharashtra.

At Wednesday’s meeting, leaders of the two parties discussed the possibility of an alliance, and sources told The Hindu that the SP was very keen for a tie-up. An SP leader, on the condition of anonymity, said, “The Congress has lost all ground in the country. But people don’t have another option apart from Congress if they want to resist the BJP. We had given them a chance, but now we are most likely to ally with the BSP.”

State SP chief Abu Azmi refused to comment on the matter, while SP corporator Rais Shaikh said the picture would be clear in a few days.

BSP State president Suresh Sakhre, meanwhile, said, “We have held a meeting, but nothing is confirmed yet. Behenji (party president Mayawati) will take the decision and we will abide by whatever she decides. Otherwise, we are prepared to contest all 48 seats alone.”

According to sources, the SP may contest about five seats while the rest may be contested by the BSP, and an announcement is likely soon. Mr. Azmi is the SP’s only MLA in Maharashtra, and the party has six corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

When asked if contesting separately from the Congress will not split the Muslim community’s votes and benefit the Sena-BJP alliance, an SP leader said, “Yes, it will. And only the Congress will be responsible for it.”

With the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) joining hands with Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh to form the Bahujan Vanchit Aghadi (BVA), the Muslim vote in the State is likely to get split three-way between the BVA, SP-BSP and Congress.

The Congress was in talks with the BVA too, but could not reach an agreement over seat sharing. BVA has now declared it will contest all 48 seats. Talks between the Congress and other parties, such as Raju Shetti’s Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna, have also not borne fruit yet.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 12:01:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/sp-bsp-meeting-triggers-tie-up-speculations-in-state/article26525860.ece

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