Never miss a great news story!
Get instant notifications from Economic Times
AllowNot now


You can switch off notifications anytime using browser settings.

Portfolio

Loading...
Select Portfolio and Asset Combination for Display on Market Band
Select Portfolio
Select Asset Class
Show More
Download ET MARKETS APP

Get ET Markets in your own language

DOWNLOAD THE APP NOW

+91

CHOOSE LANGUAGE

ENG

  • ENG - English
  • HIN - हिन्दी
  • GUJ - ગુજરાતી
  • MAR - मराठी
  • BEN - বাংলা
  • KAN - ಕನ್ನಡ
  • ORI - ଓଡିଆ
  • TEL - తెలుగు
  • TAM - தமிழ்
Drag according to your convenience
ET NOW RADIO
ET NOW
TIMES NOW

How political parties are upping their game in UP ahead of Lok Sabha polls

The polls are almost here. Here's an account of the churn happening in India's most electorally crucial state.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Mar 10, 2019, 06.09 AM IST
0Comments
BCCL
UP-parties-bccl
(L-R) Shivpal Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Priyanka Gandhi & Mayawati.
With the general election around the corner, big and small political parties in Uttar Pradesh have upped the game. ET Magazine takes a look at the shifting sands in the state:

Of Blessings & Praise
Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav praising PM Narendra Modi in Parliament surprised many. A flummoxed party worker recently asked Netaji, as Mulayam is addressed, the rationale behind the comment, during a meeting at the party headquarters in Lucknow. But security personnel quickly hushed the man. At another event, Akhilesh Yadav’s reply to his father’s comment was: “He had bestowed such blessings upon Manmohan Singh as well. Was he (Singh) successful in getting reelected as PM? Moreover, I have his blessings, too.”

Netaji had created a peculiar situation in December 2018, too, at a rally organised by younger brother Shivpal Yadav’s party in Lucknow. He asked the audience to support SP, instead of Shivpal’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohiya), until he was gently reminded that he was not at a SP function. These days, Netaji spends a lot of time at the SP headquarters asking visitors to vote for Akhilesh. The party seems to be confident after the tie-up with Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). “We will limit the BJP to 10 seats,” SP leader and MLC Rajendra Chaudhary told ET Magazine.

Vote-Shift Trouble
Experts say while BSP voters will vote for whoever Mayawati asks them to, the Yadavs may not follow such a direction from the SP. Many SP supporters are apparently unhappy with the seat-sharing formula between the parties. Their rationale: of the 37 seats the party will contest, according to the agreement, six belong to SCs, 7 to Muslims and 5-7 will go to Mulayam’s family members. This leaves barely a dozen seats for OBCs — the SP is said to be the party of OBCs. The Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections proved the BSP can transfer its votes to SP. Can SP do the same?

Uncle vs Nephew
It has been six months since Shivpal launched his Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia). Akhilesh has called him BJP’s B team, though the national party has kept a distance from Shivpal, who is in touch with the Congress. All eyes are on a brewing familial fight after Shivpal decided to contest elections from Firozabad, held by nephew Akshay — son of Shivpal’s estranged brother Ram Gopal, who is with SP. Shivpal’s party will fight all 80 Lok Sabha seats, except Mainpuri, which is held by his elder brother Mulayam.

Seats & Berth
Anupriya-thump
(Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal)
BJP’s ally in UP Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal (AD) seems to have toned down her demand for more Lok Sabha seats. She is learnt to have met Priyanka Gandhi two weeks ago. But many AD leaders say the party is relevant as long as it is with the BJP, and that the national party may not give it more seats than it did in 2014. BJP leaders, for their part, claim all differences with Patel’s party have been sorted out. AD is also said to be demanding a cabinet berth in the Yogi Adityanath government for party MLC and Anupriya’s husband Ashish Singh Patel.

Faction Party
The SP is contemplating fielding a strong Kurmi candidate against Anupriya Patel in Mirzapur. It is learnt that her estranged sister Pallavi is in touch with SP. If talks with Pallavi do not materialise, SP might field state president Naresh Uttam to counter Patel. Meanwhile, AD has birthed another faction. If the groups led by Patel and mother Krishna weren’t enough, Pratapgarh MP Harivansh Singh has broken away to form Akhil Bhartiya Apna Dal. AD, which was formed in 1996 by the late Sonelal Patel to unite Kurmi votes, now stands divided.

Strike & Alliance
The Pulwama blast and Balakot air strike seem to have put Priyanka Gandhi out of the spotlight. She was, after all, seen as the person who can revive Congress’ fortunes. An alliance with Mahan Dal, which has not seen any electoral success in the state, is not going to help the party. In 2014, Mahan Dal lost all the three seats it was allotted, while the Congress retained its two pocket boroughs. How the alliance will pan out is anybody’s guess. Meanwhile, another gatbandhan of sorts happened two months ago when UP Congress President Raj Babbar’s son Prateik got married to Sanya, daughter of BSP leader Pavan Sagar.

A Lie for a Lie
SP president Akhilesh Yadav took everyone by surprise when at a joint press conference with ally RLD, he said Congress was very much a part of the alliance with the BSP and RLD. When a confidant later asked him the rationale for such a statement, he reportedly said, “When they can lie in public, we too can do so.” A Congress leader had recently said the party refused to become part of the gatbandhan as they were not getting the expected number of seats. To be sure, gatbandhan has left Rae Bareli and Amethi seats for the Congress. Attacking Yadav, Congress’ Jyotiraditya Scindia said, “Congress is even ready to leave 2-3 seats for them in UP...but we will fight elections on our own.”

Boot vs Booth
Newspapers are filled with full page ads listing the achievements of the Narendra Modi government, with the slogan “Namumkin ab mumkin hai (impossible is now possible)”. The opposition is replying with video clips of BJP MP from Sant Kabir Nagar Sharad Tripathi and Mehdawal MLA Rakesh Baghel hitting each other with footwear. The opposition has claimed such events were “mumkin” only within the BJP. “It is time they changed their slogan from mera booth, sabse mazboot (my booth, the strongest booth) to mera boot, sabse mazboot (my boot is the strongest),” said an SP leader.
0Comments

Also Read

Lok Sabha Poll 2019: Schedule

Himanta Biswa Sarma not to contest Lok Sabha polls

Lok Sabha polls: Fight in reserved seats

Notification for first phase of Lok Sabha polls issued

AGP to fight Lok Sabha polls with BJP in Assam

Comments
Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.