The Samajwadi Party is actively preparing for the forthcoming general elections in Uttar Pradesh, with a strategy to contest 65 out of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats. According to sources within the party, these plans have been shared with NDTV, and they’ve also mentioned that the finalization of a list of potential candidates is in progress. The remaining 15 seats are expected to be divided between the Congress and other members of the INDIA alliance, as reported by these sources.
However, in a subtle critique of the INDIA coalition, the Samajwadi Party has made it explicit that they are ready to face the BJP independently should the efforts to create a united opposition front falter.
Provided that the INDIA alliance remains intact, the Samajwadi Party has decided not to field candidates in Raebareli, which is presently represented by Congress veteran Sonia Gandhi, and in Amethi, a constituency previously under Congress control from 1999 to 2014 before the BJP’s Smriti Irani achieved a surprise victory in 2019, defeating Rahul Gandhi.
This announcement arises in the midst of ongoing tensions with the Congress party regarding seat allocation in Madhya Pradesh. Just last month, Akhilesh Yadav, the leader of the Samajwadi Party, expressed concerns that an agreement with the Congress, outlining that his party would contest six out of the state’s 230 seats, was disregarded. His statement, “If I had known, we wouldn’t have engaged with Congress,” fueled speculations about the potential disintegration of the INDIA alliance due to disputes over seat sharing.
Nevertheless, in a more recent statement made to NDTV, Mr. Yadav downplayed these conflicts, affirming his continued commitment to the INDIA coalition.
The unity of the INDIA coalition in its mission to challenge the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections has been the subject of speculation in recent weeks. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar contributed to this discussion when he attributed delays in the alliance’s preparations to the Congress during a speech at a Communist Party of India rally in Patna. Nitish Kumar amusingly remarked, “We’ve been in conversation with them, pushing them forward in the INDIA alliance. However, lately, there hasn’t been much progress on that front. The Congress seems to be more focused on the five assembly polls.”
Besides Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is in power, assembly elections are scheduled this month in Congress-ruled states of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Additionally, Telangana, governed by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi (a non-INDIA member), is also set to hold elections, along with Mizoram, where the BJP is part of the ruling government.