Akhilesh Yadav’s 15 UP Seats Offer To Congress, And A Yatra Condition

Akhilesh Yadav’s 15 UP Seats Offer To Congress, And A Yatra Condition

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Lucknow:

Several opposition parties had joined hands last year to challenge the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. But the Congress and its alliance partners have failed to make headway on seat-sharing talks, and whether or not INDA bloc will contest the 2024 polls together remains unclear. In the latest blow to the Congress, the Samajwadi Party has put forth a challenging condition if the party wants their support in Uttar Pradesh.

According to sources, Samajwadi has said that it is only willing to let Congress contest on 15 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress had won 52 seats across India — very few of them in in the northeast or the Hindi belt. In Uttar Pradesh, it won only one seat, Raebareli, as Rahul Gandhi lost to Smriti Irani in Amethi.

In 2019, Samajwadi had refrained from contesting in Amethi and Rae Bareli as a gesture of courtesy toward the Congress. However, this time around, the party has taken a firm stand, offering 15 seats to the Congressand are adamant that the Congress can’t fight on any other seats if the alliance stands. The ball is now in Congress’s court, and the response is awaited.

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav‘s decision to join the ongoing Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, is also contingent upon the acceptance of the offer by the Congress.

“We have had several rounds of discussions, exchanged many lists. When the seat-sharing is done, Samajwadi Party will participate in their Nyay yatra,” Mr Yadav said.

The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, now in its 37th day, has been a rallying point for the opposition against the ruling BJP. Congress leaders, Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, are scheduled to address a public rally in Babuganj. Jairam Ramesh, Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications, had expressed optimism about Akhilesh Yadav’s participation in the Yatra.

The Congress has also been rebuffed by Mamata Banerjee in Bengal and AAP’s Bhagwant Mann in Punjab in terms of seat sharing. The whole Opposition has been jilted by NItish Kumar, who defected and took oath as the Bihar Chief Minister for the ninth time last month, to head an alliance government with the BJP.

After these setbacks, it is pertinent that Congress keep Samajwadi Party on board. Sources within the Samajwadi have claimed that the party may break away from the INDIA bloc if Congress asks for more seats than the 15 offered.

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