Lucknow, Dec 9 (IANS) Egos are getting bigger than issues and unity is torn apart by one-upmanship between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, the two main constituents of the INDIA bloc in Uttar Pradesh.
After the Congress’ debacle in the Assembly polls, the Samajwadi Party is in the “I-told-you-so” mood, conveniently forgetting its own dismal performance in Madhya Pradesh.
Post the grand old party’s poll losses in three states, the Samajwadi Party has firmly placed itself in the driving seat of the alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
“The Congress has no business to put any terms for the alliance in UP. We are the biggest challenger to the BJP and the seat distribution will be in accordance to the political relevance of a party,” said a senior SP leader.
SP spokesperson Fakhrul Hasan Chaand went on to say that given the political landscape in UP, the Congress only deserved two Lok Sabha seats – possibly Rae Bareli and Amethi.
He mentioned that the Congress suffered defeat in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh due to its misguided decisions, weakening the unity of the INDIA bloc. Hasan pointed out that this is the reason why the BJP is now eager to hold elections ahead of schedule.
Fakhrul Hasan explained that granting more seats would inadvertently assist the BJP and in order to defeat the BJP, the Congress should align itself with the SP.
Senior SP leader IP Singh took to social media platform X on Monday to accuse Priyanka Gandhi of having struck “a deal” with the BJP at the Centre and went on to explain in detail how her choices in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have led to the BJP’s victory and the Congress party’s defeat.
A senior party functionary, known for his proximity to Akhilesh Yadav disclosed that SP would leave a maximum of five seats for the Congress.
“This will depend on the nature of seat-sharing talks and the attitude of the other party. We know that we are the only party that can challenge the BJP in UP and other members of the INDIA bloc should also accept this fact,” he said.
However, he said that SP would remain a part of the Opposition bloc and would even attend the next meeting of the alliance.
Akhilesh Yadav, meanwhile, said Assembly elections were over and “so there was no point in talking about it.”
The Congress has not formally placed any demand for seats but state leaders say that they would want a respectable share, keeping in mind their national status.
The Congress dismissed the allegations of the SP as completely unfounded and irrelevant and did not react to its barbs.
So far, there has been no effort from either of the parties to resolve issues and ease tensions between them.
Though both parties privately agree that the BJP has earned a major psychological advantage after the Assembly polls, they refuse to admit it officially.
“The BJP will now give a message to voters that they are invincible. We will launch a campaign against this only after the seat sharing issue is sorted out among the allies. We do not want to give another opportunity to the BJP to mock at us. Let them live in their paradise till then,” said a veteran Congress leader.
The SP is wary of the Congress party’s attempt to establish itself as the “big boss” of the alliance on the grounds that it was the only national party in the Opposition bloc. The posturing has left the regional parties outside UP feeling decidedly uncomfortable.
Senior SP leader Sudhir Panwar said, “Look at the party position in state Assembly and the Lok Sabha members of parties from Uttar Pradesh. In my opinion, that is the best way to assess a political party’s popularity in a particular region.”
This is a message that is making the Congress squirm in its position in the INDIA bloc.