21 Feb 2024

Lok Sabha Elections-2024: Is There Any Positive Progress in Seat-Sharing Talks Between Congress and Samajwadi Party in UP?

On Wednesday, the struggling INDIA bloc received encouraging news as Akhilesh Yadav, the leader of the Samajwadi Party, hinted at the almost finalized seat-sharing negotiations with the Congress for Uttar Pradesh's 80 Lok Sabha seats.

This development followed Akhilesh Yadav's ultimatum to the Congress the previous day, demanding the swift completion of seat-share talks, or he would refrain from participating in the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra'.

All is well that ends well: Akhilesh

With a smile, Yadav stated, "All is well that ends well. Yes, there will be an alliance... there is no conflict. Everything will be clear soon." Avinash Pandey, Congress' General Secretary, said, "We are awaiting confirmation from Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge... we agreed to change some seats in the interest of the alliance."

Sources indicated that Yadav's party would contest 62 seats, reserving 17 for the Congress and one for Chandrashekhar Azad's Azad Samaj Party, though there are some unresolved issues.

The Congress aims for 19 seats but has agreed to relinquish Moradabad, won by the Samajwadi Party in 2019. In return, the Samajwadi Party will withdraw its demand for Varanasi, PM Narendra Modi's constituency. The two may also swap Sitapur and Hathras. And the Samajwadi Party has been offered Bulandshahr or Mathura in exchange for Shravasti. A final announcement is anticipated on Thursday.

The ongoing negotiations between the two parties are closely observed as a measure of INDIA's ability to challenge the BJP's electoral machinery. The recent victory of Congress-AAP in the Chandigarh mayoral election marked the bloc's first electoral win.

Priyanka Gandhi intervened

This positive turn in negotiations was attributed to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's intervention. Congress sources suggest that she worked out the details, obtaining approval from Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi also played a crucial role, helping state leaders recognize some demands as "unreasonable" and "unrealistic" given the party's past electoral performances.

The news provides a significant boost to the INDIA bloc, which has faced challenges since its formation last year, including the exit of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and potential loss of support from Jayant Chaudhary's Rashtriya Lok Dal in UP.

Despite challenges in Bengal and Punjab, the mayoral election win is expected to positively impact the bloc's cohesion.

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