SP, BSP seal alliance in Maharashtra for LS, Assembly elections

To announce seat-sharing formula, candidates later; vow to to keep BJP, Congress away from power

The Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced their alliance in Maharashtra on Tuesday, but have yet to finalise their seat-sharing formula for the election.

The Hindu had reported last week that the two parties were considering a tie-up in the State.

The two parties have formed an alliance in Uttar Pradesh, but in Maharashtra, the SP was keen on contesting with the Congress. SP had demanded one seat in the Mumbai region, either Mumbai South, Mumbai South Central, Bhiwandi, Mumbai North West or Mumbai North Central.

The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), however, refused to cede these seats to the SP and instead gave it the option of contesting either Mumbai North or Jalna. The SP was thus left to explore the only remaining option — the BSP, which had earlier announced that it would contest all 48 seats in Maharashtra.

On Tuesday, the two parties declared their alliance not only for the Lok Sabha elections, but also for the Assembly polls. “In Maharashtra, SP was only demanding one seat from the Congress-NCP alliance, which they didn’t give. Now we will contest all 48 seats with BSP. Our seat-sharing formula and candidates will be announced soon,” SP Maharashtra chief and MLA Abu Azmi said in a press conference. Mr. Azmi also said that the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were birds of the same feather.

BSP State president Suresh Sakhre said, “We will fight for justice for the oppressed masses. We will fight to keep the BJP and Congress away from power.”

Sources said the SP may contest about five seats, while the rest may be contested by the BSP. Mr. Azmi is the SP’s only MLA in Maharashtra. The party has six corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

BSP chief Mayawati will kick off the campaign in Maharashtra at a rally in Nagpur on April 4.The SP’s Akhilesh Yadav is also expected to attend the rally.

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