According to sources, the seat-sharing formula between Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh is within reach, with no mention of the Congress in this particular gathbandhan.
As per inputs, in the crucial elections to the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati's party will be contesting in 38 seats, while Akhilesh Yadav's SP will contest 37 and three will be given to the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). Conspicuously, the two remaining seats are Rae Bareli and Amethi, which are Congress bastions currently held by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi respectively.
The Congress had warned the Samajwadi Party and BSP against excluding it from any alliance in Uttar Pradesh, with senior party leader Salman Khurshid saying that if his party is excluded from the coalition in the state, any nationwide anti-BJP front will be "weakened" and it may lead to a "stillborn situation".
Khurshid had said that cobbling together a grand alliance in UP would be the "trickiest" exercise for all opposition parties in the state and asserted it was crucial for the Congress, the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to join forces to put up a formidable challenge against the BJP.
In an interview to PTI, the former UP Congress chief said the situation in the state was "fluid" and party chief Rahul Gandhi was taking a "cautiously optimistic view", while keeping his "mind and heart open" for alliances for the 2019 general election.
Asked about reports that the SP and the BSP may leave out the Congress from the alliance in UP, Khurshid said, "I think it is a little bit of posturing, but I can't say for sure...I have no reason to believe it to be true or not to be true, but it will be myopic if the Congress is kept out of the alliance in UP because it may have an impact on the larger alliance nationwide."
It is oft said that in the context of general elections, the road to Delhi goes via Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous and electorally significant state. In 2014 this turned out to be completely accurate as the BJP won 73 out of 80 seats with the SP (which was ruling in the state at the time) winning just 5, the BSP winning none, and the Congress only winning in Rae Bareli and Amethi. The BJP repeated its performance in the 2017 UP Assembly elections with Yogi Adityanath subsequently being appointed CM. In those elections, the Congress and SP had allied but proved to be ineffective. Since then, all four parties (SP, BSP, Congress, RLD) have allied tactically for Lok Sabha and state assembly bypolls and successfully at that, winning in Gorakhpur and Phulpur -- the lower house seats vacated by Yogi Adityanath and his deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya.