January 13, 2022 1:58:03 am
Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday chaired a meeting with his party’s alliance partners at the SP’s headquarters here to discuss their seat-sharing arrangement. The Opposition party announced that the alliance would conduct a door-to-door campaign.
Among the leaders who attended the meeting were Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) president and Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Yadav, his son Aditya Yadav; Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar; Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) state chief Masood Ahmad; Janwadi Party (Socialist) chief Sanjay Chauhan; Mahan Dal president Keshav Dev Maurya; Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) chief Krishna Patel and the Nationalist Congress Party’s KK Sharma.
SP national spokesperson Juhie Singh said the seat-sharing formula would be announced this week. “I think the party will make things public soon,” she added.
Senior party leaders said the SP would contest around 300 seats while the rest will go to its allies. “Some of the candidates of our allies will contest on our symbol while some of the allies’ candidates will contest on the SP symbol,” said one leader, adding, “We have reached an agreement with all our allies, and we are on the same page as them.”
Without mentioning how many constituencies the SBSP would contest, Rajbhar told a news channel, “We are not contesting in the first three phases. We will field candidates from the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh phases…Our seats are finalised.”
In a statement, the party announced that it would conduct a door-to-door campaign, and added that farmers’ welfare, youth’s employment, inflation control, and health and education facilities were among the issues were discussed at the meeting. The Election Commission has banned public meetings and rallies because of a surge in Covid-19 cases. It has said parties can depute a maximum of five people in an area for door-to-door campaigns.
“In the meeting, it was also decided that workers of all parties which have allied with the SP will go door to door to reach out to the electorate and appeal to them to ensure a win for the alliance in UP,” read the SP statement, which also quoted Akhilesh telling his allies that the upcoming election will be about “saving democracy in the country”.
Last Thursday, Akhilesh met RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary here to discuss the seat-sharing agreement. At the time, sources in both parties said the RLD was most likely to get around 35 seats in western UP that goes to the polls in the first phase on February 10.
After the failure of its alliances with the Congress in the 2017 Assembly elections and the BSP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the SP had made it clear that the party would ally only with smaller parties for the upcoming state elections. The alliances have been formed with the objective of reaching out to non-Yadav Other Backward Class (OBC) communities in the state. In the last few elections, the BJP has managed to garner the support of these non-Yadav OBC communities, and Akhilesh’s alliances with the smaller parties have been made with an eye on these votes.
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