The prospects of a pre-poll alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress have brightened after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav emerged as the central figure of SP’s politics post his reinstatement.
After party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav revoked Akhilesh and Ramgopal Yadav’s expulsion, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister emerged as a clear winner in the bitter power struggle between him and party’s old guard led by Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh.
While Akhilesh has repeatedly stated that an alliance with the Congress would enable the combination to win more than 300 seats in UP, the Shivpal-led faction had reportedly stymied such prospects and favoured a “go at it alone” strategy for the Samajwadi Party.
Read | Samajwadi Party rank and file backs Akhilesh in turf war with Shivpal
Indications of the power-shift were visible on Saturday when Shivpal’s name went missing from Samajwadi Party’s official website and Akhilesh and Ramgopal’s termination letters were withdrawn.
Samajwadi Party sources indicated that the UP chief minister was willing to spare around 100 seats for the alliance partner, although a formal decision in the matter would be taken after a few days.
Sources hinted that the alliance would not be an identical replication of the “Bihar formula”, as Akhilesh is said to be not that keen for a tie-up with Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).
He reportedly harbours apprehensions that a tie-up with the RLD could alienate the Muslim vote bank of the SP in Western Uttar Pradesh.
With Janata Dal (United) leader Vashisht Narain Singh having praised Mulayam on Friday for his decisive step to enforce party discipline by sacking Akhilesh and Ramgopal, it also remains unclear whether the party would come on board as an alliance partner.
Read | Akhilesh, Ram Gopal taken back into Samajwadi Party a day after Mulayam expelled them