New Delhi: The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party announced that they would field candidates from 37 and 38 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh respectively, leaving three for the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and the two Gandhi family bastions of Amethi and Rae Bareli for the Congress.
However, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav expressed his displeasure with the alliance, questioning why SP chief and his son Akhilesh Yadav had agreed to give half the seats to the BSP.
An official document signed by BSP chief Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav was released which gave the break-up of the seats each party would contest.
The seats that SP would contest include Kairana, Moradabad, Sambhal, Rampur, Mainpuri, Firozabad, Badaun, Bareilly, Lucknow, Etawah, Kanpur, Kannauj, Jhansi, Banda, Allahabad, Kaushambi, Phulpur, Faizabad, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Varanasi and Mirzapur.
The BSP will field candidates from Saharanpur, Bijnor, Nagina, Aligarh, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Dhaurahara, Sitapur, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Kaiserganj, Basti, Salempur, Jaunpur, Bhadohi and Deoria, among other constituencies.
Earlier the two parties had said that they would fight 38 seats each, leaving four for others, which would have effectively meant that the RLD gets to fight only on two seats. However, RLD chief Jayant Chowdhary had held a series of meetings with Mr Yadav following which SP has given one seats from it own quota to the RLD.
There was no clarity, however, on whether the Nishad Party, which has been asking for one seat, would be further accommodated within the SP quota. Speculation was rife that they might have a seat arrangement with Congress.
Sources said that the Congress, which was left high and dry by the two regional parties, and hit back by appointing Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia as general secretaries in-charge of East and West UP, might end up having a tactical seat adjustment with the SP-BSP alliance in the Awadh region.
Top sources told this newspaper that Ms Vadra was in regular touch with BSP supremo Mayawati and some arrangement can be worked out soon. However, one person not enthused about the alliance was SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Expressing unhappiness over the pact, he questioned why SP had given “half” the seats to Ms Mayawati’s party.
Addressing party workers at the SP headquarters in Lucknow, he said, “When I led the party, I had distributed tickets 14 month in advance. We then made the government.”
“The BJP is ahead in campaigning”, he added and asked Akhilesh to quickly name his party’s candidates.
“Look, so far, the tickets have not been decided. If he can’t decide, then ask me, I will distribute tickets,” he said.
Asking party workers to approach him directly if they sought tickets to contest the parliamentary polls, he said, “How many of you have given applications to me? Nobody. Then how will you get the ticket? Akhilesh will give the ticket, but I can change it.”
Akhilesh Yadav, 45, was out of earshot. He had come to greet his father at the party office lawns, but left well before his father started speaking.
A few days earlier, in his remarks on the last day of the Budget session, the senior Yadav had created a stir by saying that he wished Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns to power.