Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Akhilesh Yadav
The final formula for seat sharing in the opposition alliance formed to compete with BJP in Uttar Pradesh has not been decided. SP, on its part, has fixed 11 seats for Congress, but Congress has not given its seal of approval on it. There is to be a meeting of Congress leaders with Akhilesh Yadav regarding seat sharing between SP and Congress, after which a final agreement can be reached. In such a situation, the future strategy of Congress is that even if it gets less seats to fulfill the coalition principle, the condition is that it should be a safe seat so that victory in 2024 is guaranteed?
During seat sharing with SP, Congress had earlier claimed 30 seats. Then the matter came to 23. Congress leaders, who are desperate to contest the elections at any cost, are now ready to accept even 17 to 18 seats, while SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has fixed 11 seats for the Congress. Congress is not agreeing not only on the number of seats suggested by SP but also on the number of seats being given. Congress intends to secure safe seats for its leaders, for which seats from Ballia to Bhadohi, Amroha and Rampur are its target.
Congress decided the names of the candidates
Congress has made a strategy to contest the elections on the seats of UP and has also finalized the names of the candidates for those seats. Congress state president Ajay Rai from Ballia, Rajesh Mishra from Bhadohi, former MP Begum Nurbano from Rampur, Tanuj Punia, son of former Congress Rajya Sabha MP PL Punia from Barabanki, former MLC Deepak Singh from Sultanpur, former MP Imran Masood from Saharanpur, Bahraich. There is a demand for Basgaon seat for former MP Kamal Kishore Commando. Apart from this, preparations are on to field Raj Babbar from Fatehpur Sikri and national spokesperson Supriya Shrinet from Maharajganj.
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Congress disagrees on Akhilesh’s 11 seats
Before giving seats to Congress, SP had also asked who are the potential candidates Congress has to contest on the seats it is demanding and what is the basis of its victory. On this basis, Congress had shared the names of some seat-wise candidates with the INDIA alliance. When four rounds of meetings of Congress leaders with SP yielded no results, Akhilesh Yadav had fixed 11 seats. Congress has not agreed on this formula, but the party has made up its mind that if it has to be satisfied with less seats to fulfill the coalition principle, then it is ready, but winnable seats will be required. Apart from this, it was said from the Congress side that their senior leaders who want to contest the elections should be adjusted.
SP’s Yadav-Muslim-Shakya equation
Former Union Minister Salman Khurshid wants ticket from Farrukhabad. He is also a member of the Alliance Committee of Congress. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has given ticket to Naval Kishore Shakya from there. Akhilesh does not want his equation in Kannauj and Mainpuri to get spoiled due to Salman Khurshid. He has given ticket to wife Dimple Yadav from Mainpuri. Akhilesh has fielded Shakya caste leaders from neighboring districts Farrukhabad and Etah so that he can register victory through the Yadav-Muslim-Shakya equation. Congress wants Farrukhabad seat at any cost.
Due to disqualification of SP leader Azam Khan from contesting elections and his stay in jail, Congress is staking its claim on Rampur Lok Sabha seat from where it wants to field two-time MP Begum Nurbano. Congress is pinning its hopes of victory on the Muslim equation. Similarly, while Danish Ali, who was expelled from BSP, wants Amroha seat, Imran is hoping for Bijnor seat for Masood. Apart from this, Congress is also expressing its desire for Moradabad seat, from where it intends to field a big Muslim leader.
Congress’s Ajay Rai wants ticket from Ballia
This time Congress UP President Ajay Rai wants ticket from Ballia instead of Varanasi. Till now he has been contesting elections from Varanasi only. Fought against everyone from PM Narendra Modi to Murli Manohar Joshi, but never won. He feels that Ballia may be lucky for him, because Ballia has been the stronghold of Samajwadi Party. Congress has nurtured the dream of victory on this seat with the help of the strategy of creating Bhumihar equation with Yadav-Muslim. Yadav-Muslim-Bhumihar equation can guarantee victory for Congress if it wins Ballia seat.
Former Congress MP Rajesh Mishra wants to try his luck from Bhadohi instead of Varanasi. He is a resident of Varanasi and had won from here in 2024. Rajesh Mishra may get a chance to reach Parliament again on the basis of equation of Brahmin, Muslim and Yadav votes in Bhadohi seat. The reason for this is also that this time SP has made a strategy to enter the election field on Varanasi seat. Apart from this, Congress is considering contesting Deepak Singh in Sultanpur as a guarantee of victory by getting Yadav-Muslim-Thakur votes, which can be won by combining them. In 2009, Congress was successful in registering victory with the help of Muslim and Thakur equation. In such a situation, it remains to be seen whether SP will be ready on the demand of Congress?