National

After UP, SP-BSP bonhomie manifests as third front in M.P. and Uttarakhand

Our Bureau/PTI New Delhi/Patna | Updated on February 25, 2019

The two parties announced a seat-sharing pact in Uttar Pradesh, where the SP will contest 37 Lok Sabha seats and the BSP 38   -  Rajeev Bhatt

BSP may contest all 40 LS seats in Bihar

The BJP’s success with alliances and consolidation in the wake of rising nationalist rhetoric post-Pulwama attack contrasted sharply with yet another blow to Opposition unity on Monday.

After counting the Congress out in Uttar Pradesh (UP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) decided to forge the third front in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where the two allies announced they will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections together. Simultaneously, there were indications that the BSP may also contest all the 40 seats in Bihar, where the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress (RJD-Cong) alliance is pitched against the BJP and the Janata Dal (United) headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Although the BSP is a marginal player in Bihar, where it polled a mere 2.07 per cent of the total votes in the 2015 Assembly polls and forfeited its deposit in all but three of the 228 constituencies, it still has the potential to tilt the scale against the RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan in places where there is a tight contest and margins are expected to be small.

In a short statement signed jointly by SP President Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati, the two leaders declared: “Both have together decided to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in alliance in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand.”

The alliance stipulates that the SP will contest three seats in Madhya Pradesh — Balaghat, Tikamgarh and Khajraho — and one in Uttarakhand — Gadhwal (Pauri). The BSP will contest on all the remaining seats, a statement released by the BSP chief on her Twitter account said.

While Madhya Pradesh sends 29 members to the Lok Sabha, Uttarakhand accounts for five seats in the Lower House of Parliament. The BJP had won all but two Lok Sabha seats in M.P. in the last general elections.

In Uttarakhand, the BJP had won all the five seats. The BSP has a fair share of vote, especially in the Terai areas of Uttarakhand and primarily damages the Congress in the State.

Gearing up for polls

In Bihar, the BSP State in-charge Lalji Medhkar told media: “Behenji has instructed us to start preparations for all the Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. Detailed instructions are expected at the meeting in New Delhi on February 28,” Medhkar said.

The development also comes as a setback to the RJD’s attempts to get closer to the BSP, which would have helped Lalu Prasad’s party to improve its standing among the dalits in the State.

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Published on February 25, 2019

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