After the Election Commission handed over the cycle symbol to Akhilesh Yadav, the Congress on Tuesday announced an alliance with the Samajwadi Party faction led by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. The shape of the alliance has not yet been decided but both parties are confident of winning the elections against the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
According to sources, Congress is demanding 100 seats to contest elections. It was the same demand earlier as well because of which the talks of an alliance had hit a road block. However, it seems that the state unit prevailed upon the central leadership not to ditch the alliance due to this.
Congress to gain more from this alliance
From what it looks like, the Congress will gain more from the alliance. It was keen on an alliance with Akhilesh Yadav-led SP as the victory of the coalition will help the grand old party revive itself in the state.
What works in favour of Congress is that it can woo voters from various sections and castes. The SP gets votes of Yadavs and Muslims but Congress can get the votes of Brahmins, Muslims, Dalits, Thakurs. Congress which has presently less than 30 seats in the UP Assembly can easily replicate their success like in Bihar where they had won 27 of the 41 seats it contested on with their age-old formula of Dalit-Brahmin-Muslim combination.
Akhilesh has a clean image, while on the other hand, Congress has no credible face in the state. It has also been embroiled in several scams, thus the Congress can use Akhilesh’s image to woo voters.
Standing alone, Congress couldn’t have done wonders in UP elections. They desperately needed support and the best option for them is Akhilesh Yadav. Numbers suggest that people are with Akhilesh. Not just the public, over 90 per cent of SP leaders are also backing him, which means his cadre is strong. All these factors are indirectly going to help Congress increase their seat share in the state.
The alliance would also help the Congress make inroads into Dalit, MBCs and Upper Caste vote banks, especially among Brahmins and Thakurs who feel they have been neglected by the BJP.
The Congress has been out of power in Uttar Pradesh for 27 years. It is now trying its best to revive its electoral fortunes, be it by pushing vice president Rahul Gandhi to hold a “kisan yatra” or “khat pe charcha” across the state. Though these created a buzz, the response was feeble.
Congress knows where it stands. It is not even claiming that it can single-handedly come back to power. It’s main aim, in fact, is to contain the BJP in the crucial elections.
Also, the Muslim vote which was reportedly expected to shift towards the BSP during the SP family feud will now remain with the SP-Congress as it is being reported that BSP may join hands with BJP to form a government in the state. The decision, if taken, will dent BSP’s image which is banking heavily on Dalits and Muslims to provide them a winning formula.