Explainer: Can Congress pull a 2009 in Uttar Pradesh in the 2024 general election : The Tribune India

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Explainer: Can Congress pull a 2009 in Uttar Pradesh in the 2024 general election

Will Congress-SP arrangement work in UP, Madhya Pradesh

Explainer: Can Congress pull a 2009 in Uttar Pradesh in the 2024 general election

Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav. File photos



Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, February 23

After weeks of ‘kabhi haan kabhi naa’, INDIA alliance partners Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP) pulled what was being considered an impossible task— seat-sharing arrangement in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for the upcoming general election.

As per the pact, Congress will get 17 of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh—the state that sends the largest number of MPs to the Lok Sabha. Some of the seats in UP are the ones the grand old party won in 2009, its last good performance in the state. In MP, Congress has given Khajuraho to SP, one of the 29 constituencies in the state.

Priyanka Gandhi's role

According to reports, a major credit for resolving differences between SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi should go to Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Apparently, she spoke to Yadav after which the SP-Congress seat-sharing pact finally fructified on Wednesday. Earlier, there were also reports that the SP was thinking of releasing names of candidates on seats claimed by the Congress.

Thanking Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and Yadav, AICC general secretary Avinash Pande also thanked Priyanka for playing a “crucial role in finalising the alliance and for her efforts to bring all such forces together which can defeat the BJP”.

Yadav would now also join Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ which is currently passing through UP.

He had indicated that he would join the yatra only after seat-sharing was finalised.

Can Congress re-create 2009  

The 17 seats allotted to the Congress are Raebareli, Amethi, Kanpur, Fatehpur Sikri, Bansgaon, Saharanpur, Prayagraj, Maharajganj, Varanasi, Amroha, Jhansi, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Sitapur, Barabanki and Deoria.

Several names are doing the rounds for the seats. 

Raebareli and Amethi are also counted as two “bastions” of the Nehru-Gandhi family. 

However, in the 2019 elections Rahul Gandhi lost Amethi to BJP’s Smriti Irani while Sonia Gandhi retained the Raebareli seat. With Sonia Gandhi shifting to Rajya Sabha, the buzz is that Priyanka may be fielded from Raebareli.

However, coming in the backdrop of the exit of the Rashtriya Lok Dal from the INDIA bloc, the alliance is only the first step in the state where the ruling BJP is a dominant force.

In recent times, 2009 was the last time Congress did well in UP, winning as many as 21 seats.

Currently, Congress has only one MP and two MLAs in the state. 

Challenges—arithmetic+chemistry  

Analysts say the two parties not only have the challenge of finding suitable winnable candidates but also building a common narrative to take on the BJP-led NDA—a formidable alliance of five parties in the state. 

The BJP has both arithmetic and chemistry working in its favour with four regional, caste-based allies and support from across the caste spectrum--upper castes, OBCs and Dalits. 

Congress, on the other hand, does not have the backing of any particular caste group or region. 

However, its kitty includes seats like Saharanpur and Amroha with sizeable Muslim voters. Imran Masood and Kunwar Danish Ali are the likely candidates from these seats.

“The Congress-SP needs both arithmetic and chemistry to ensure transfer of votes and also attract new voters while working against time and a strong rival (BJP) which has resources, organisation and a face like Prime Minister Narendra Modi at its disposal. The Congress-SP alliance will have to convincingly communicate to voters the need for change in the government,” they add.

The big question, therefore, is can their campaign push the BJP into a corner over issues like unemployment, farmers, recruitment exams, communal polarisation amid the prevailing euphoria over Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.

Will Rahul, Priyanka contest  

Observers say the SP-Congress alliance may have brought together around 20% Muslim vote which can be a deciding factor on a number of seats but is it sufficient to dent BJP’s upper caste-OBC and Dalit collage.

Also, if Rahul and Priyanka do not contest from Rae Bareli and Amethi, it will be taken as a major moral defeat for Congress. 

 

About The Author

The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

#Congress #Madhya Pradesh #Uttar Pradesh


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