A section of Congress leaders led by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is not in favour of an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP), according to sources. They believe that the combination of alliance fits a lot better with the BSP and RLD, which can result in better performance mostly in western UP. The reason for an alliance without SP, pushed by some Congress leaders, is that the SP is not willing to give up on the majority electoral territories. There are murmurs within political corridors that the party is fixated on a number of seats and is not willing to negotiate further. A Congress insider said, the SP wants to contest on at least 40 seats, and they seem to be preparing for another 20 seats which will bring their tally to 60 out of the 80, leaving a very small space for Congress, RLD and the possibly new entrant Bahujan Samaj Party.
A Congress leader said, “It is true that both the parties are watching each other from a distance for the time being, because SP is not giving seats. They are giving seats like Allahabad LS constituency, Kanpur, Banaras, Lucknow, etc. You cannot do anything much there.” Furthermore, Congress has also been obstinately clutching for minimum 20 seats, which has created a momentary distance between both the parties. SP leaders also claim that the alliance is facing minor bumps in the shape of “minimal coordination”.
A political analyst in the state said, “There is a wider understanding between all the party chiefs in the state that elections have to be fought together against the BJP. Else everyone will face a bitter drubbing and make it difficult for them to bounce back again. Everyone has to give up on something, they know it, but it takes time for some leaders to accept that. Therefore, these are ups and downs that exist in such an alliance where there are many stakeholders. But when the elections come closer, they will all come closer and declare proportionate seat-sharing. Otherwise, the whole Opposition bloc will mean nothing and all the narrative they have been pushing for will collapse and trample all its constituents which will also mean BJP winning before contesting the elections.” There is widespread understanding among leaders in the state that if all the four parties (BSP, SP, Congress, RLD) come together, the upcoming Lok Sabha election could be a bigger battle than ever. Nidhi Yadav, Samajwadi spokesperson, said: “I don’t think the alliance without SP would be successful. Moreover, its participation in any alliance will be instrumental, as it (SP) asserted itself as the biggest Opposition party in the state in the last elections in 2022. Therefore, an Opposition without SP’s involvement will be a weak alliance.”