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UP: SP, Congress Seal Deal for Lok Sabha Polls, Akhilesh to Join Bharat Nyay Yatra

SP leaders said the party would contest 62 seats, Congress 17 and one seat would be left for Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad's party.
Akhilesh yadav Rahul Gandhi.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Image Courtesy: PTI

Lucknow: Months after differences over seat sharing, INDIA bloc partners Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress on Wednesday evening announced a tie-up for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, with the state's main Opposition party leaving 17 out of the 80 seats for the grand old party.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference by SP state chief Naresh Uttam Patel, SP national general secretary Rajendra Chaudhary, Congress state president Ajay Rai and AICC in-charge for UP Avinash Pande.

Pande said Congress will contest on 17 seats, while on the rest of the 63 seats in the state SP and other alliance partners will contest.

Apart from its strongholds of Rae Bareli and Amethi (lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Smriti Irani in 2019), the Congress will field candidates from Kanpur Nagar, Fatehpur Sikri, Basgaon, Saharanpur, Prayagraj, Maharajganj, Amroha, Jhansi, Bulandshahar, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Sitapur, Barabanki, and Deoria.

The SP has already released three lists of 31 candidates. According to SP leaders, the party would contest 62 seats, Congress 17 and one seat would be left for Dalit leader Chandrashekhar's party.

Asked when Akhilesh Yadav will join Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, Patel said, "He might join the yatra on February 24 or 25 as per his convenience."

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had recently said that he would join the Nyay Yatra after the seat-sharing was finalised.

Congress leader Pande said party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra played a very important role in finalising this alliance.

Following the announcement on seat-sharing, SP chief Yadav said the 'PDA' (Pichhde, Dalit, Alpasankhyak) will defeat the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the upcoming polls. In a post on X, Yadav said, "Congratulations to all and best wishes for a harmonious alliance."

"To save the Constitution of Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar; to implement Lohia ji's principle of 'sankhyaupatik hissedari" (share proportional to numbers); to bring equality by activating socialist values; to ensure the rights of 90 per cent PDAs and for the progress of the country… let's unite," Yadav wrote in a post in Hindi.

The last time the two parties contested together in Uttar Pradesh was in 2017 when Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi had campaigned together for the Assembly elections. However, the alliance failed to woo voters and BJP managed a huge victory. The two parties later parted ways and in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections 

The Samajwadi Party had contested in an alliance with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. While the SP had won just five seats, the BSP had bagged 10. The RLD, which is likely to join the NDA, had failed to win any seat.

Notably, The alliance recently faced a major setback after Jayant Chaudhary-led RLD quit the INDIA bloc to join hands with the BJP-led NDA.

Political experts believe that after the SP-Congress alliance, more small (regional) parties, including Mahan Dal, Chauhan Party of Purvanchal and Apna Dal (Kamerwadi), will join INDIA bloc and the caste equations will also change.

There will be a change in the fragmentation of vote banks and its impact will be visible in the voting in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. BJP will have to face a tough challenge on all these seats, they said.

In the 2019 alliance with SP, 10 MPs from BSP and five MPs were elected on the SP symbol. In such a situation, the electoral equations do not appear favourable for BSP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, it was felt.

"With the coming together of SP and Congress, Pichhde, Dalit, Alpsankhyak' (PDA) will come together and with this the vote of Congress will increase," ND Tiwari, a political expert told NewsClick. 

Congress Position on 17 Seats

Congress, which won two Lok Sabha seats -- Amethi and Rae Bareli in 2014 -- was reduced to half its strength in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Rahul Gandhi lost the election from Amethi. Sonia Gandhi managed to save only her seat from Rae Bareli.

Sonia Gandhi has decided not to contest from Rae Bareli in the Lok Sabha elections 2024. However, under the alliance, both Amethi and Rae Bareli seats have gone to Congress. The challenge before Congress is to maintain its political existence in the state.

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