Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party
+ (SP) sealed their historic alliance, locking 78 seats between them including two for the Congress, out of a total of 80 constituencies in the state.
With many of them going through a sour relationship with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recent past, it is the Congress – which was kept out of the SP-BSP alliance – that has thrown a bait for fledgling political outfits to stitch a new alliance against NDA and SP-BSP. Though Congress national general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad may have hinted fielding party candidates in all the 80 constituencies, sources said he has assigned trusted hands to work on alliances with smaller parties.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Suheldev Bahujan Samaj Party (SBSP), Nishad Party, the two warring factions of Apna Dal, PSP headed by estranged Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav and Peace Party are some whom major parties have set their eyes on.
Independent MLA Raghuraj Paratp Singh, alias Raja Bhaiya, who heads the newly-floated Praja Party, is also toying with the idea of contesting Lok Sabha elections. As of now, SBSP and Apna Dal (Anupriya Patel) are with the BJP and part of the NDA governments in Lucknow and at the Centre, but leadership of the two parties has expressed their discontent and displeasure with the BJP and have warned of charting their own course ahead of the general elections.
If SBSP chief
Om Prakash Rajbhar has lashed out
+ at the BJP and the Yogi government on many issues, Union minister of state Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal has said she would boycott Yogi government’s official programmes till her party is not properly adjusted in seat-sharing in the forthcoming elections.
Ajit Singh-headed Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) feels left out by the SP-BSP alliance after sticking to its demand of half a dozen seats in western UP. Nishad Party, which had a pact with SP, is looking for greener pastures and determined to contest the Lok Sabha elections, with the support of a major player.
BJP is eyeing Nishad Party, now in the SP camp. There are nearly four lakh Nishads in Gorakhpur and had played a key role in the defeat of BJP candidate in the Lok Sabha by-election in March last year. Congress is already in touch with RLD, SBSP and Peace Party and working to cobble together an alliance with smaller parties which have their areas of influence in limited pockets, but have committed voters and supporters. BJP had formed alliances with smaller parties in UP and succeeded in the Assembly elections in 2017 and Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
This time, these parties feel they have been snubbed by the BJP and might be looking for a big partner.
Smaller parties, known in UP as “vote katwas”, are outfits based on caste with committed votebanks.