BSP-SP join hands in UP for LS polls; to contest 38:37 seats

BSP chief Mayavati with SP president Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Thursday.

Lucknow, February 21: The Samajwadi Party will contest 37 seats and the Bahujan Samaj Party 38 in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls, the two parties said on Thursday while releasing a list of seats.

While announcing the alliance earlier, the two parties had said they will contest from 38 constituencies each out of the 80 in the state.

BSP chief Mayavati with SP president Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Thursday.

The two parties named the seats distributed among them in a statement signed by SP president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati.

According to a release signed by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, the SP will field contestants from Varanasi, the seat held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi currently, as well as Gorakhpur, the Yogi Adiyanath bastion which had gone to the SP in an unexpected bypoll result last year.

The two parties have not announced any candidates for the two seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli, which are held by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, despite their not being a pre-poll alliance between the two parties.

The 37 seats in the SP quota include Kairana, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Mainpuri, Firozabad, Badaun, Bareilly, Lucknow, Etawah, Kanpur, Kannauj, Jhansi, Banda, Allahabad, Kaushambi, Phulpur, Faizabad, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Varanasi and Mirzapur.

The BSP will contest from Saharanpur, Bijnor, Nagina, Aligarh, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Dhaurahara, Sitapur, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Kaiserganj, Basti, Salempur, Jaunpur, Bhadohi and Deoria, among other constituencies.

Thursday’s announcement essentially shuts the door on Congress making an entry into the alliance, unless there is a very last-minute rethink. There had been speculation that Priyanka Gandhi’s entry into the arena had prompted rethink in the SP and BSP camps, but Mayawati’s repeated attacks on the Congress in the last one month have poured cold water over the rumours.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has also announced that his party would contest on all 80 seats in the state, turning it into a three-cornered contest.

To questions on whether a resurgent Congress could divert votes from the SP-BSP alliance and help the BJP, both Mayawati and Akhilesh responded in the negative. They said the Congress is more likely to draw upper caste votes, which would have gone to the BJP.