Encouraged by its taste of success in the recent Bihar elections, the Congress has been desperately looking for a political ally in Uttar Pradesh, one who would lead it up the aisle of power and bring it out of wilderness. As the Congress yearns for a Bihar like alliance in UP, the political players in the state are firmly shutting their doors on the party.
The Bahujan Samaj Party has spurned talks of alliance with the Congress. The BSP, which had last allied with the Congress in the 1996 Assembly elections, has declared that it will go it alone in 2017 in UP.
“Why should we ally with the Congress which has turned into a political liability? The Congress has no vote bank of its own and can offer nothing to anyone. The BSP will contest all 403 Assembly seats on its own and there will be no alliance with anyone, least of all Congress. Mayawati has made this clear to us,” said a former BSP minister.
After the BSP, it was the turn of the Samajwadi Party to push the Congress out of its circle of “friends”.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, while addressing a meeting of youth leaders, made it clear that had it not been for the Congress, he would not have walked out of the Grand Alliance in Bihar. He said that Congress was not acceptable to him at any cost. As a UP minister said, “We are not going to benefit from any alliance with the Congress. We are gearing up to fight the BJP on our own and every seat counts for us. This is an important election for us and not a time for generosity.”
For the Congress, continuing the grand alliance of Bihar in Uttar Pradesh is apparently meaningless since both the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal (U) do not have any presence in the state and can be termed as political nonentities.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which is looking for a foothold in state politics after the debacle of 2014, does not seem keen on an alliance with the Congress. “We would prefer a seat adjustment with the BSP if it materialises or else we will go it alone,” said an RLD leader.
A party functionary admitted that finding allies for the Congress in UP was an onerous task since the party did not have a single vote base it could call its own. The functionary, meanwhile, suggested that the party high command should accept this reality and start working on the strategy without allies. A veteran party leader explained, “This time we are not going to mess around with our strategy. We will focus our campaign on key issues that will put the governments in the state and Centre in the dock. All that the party needs to do is to finalise the candidates well in advance so that each individual gets sufficient time. The party high command must take a decision on this at the earliest.”
On Saturday, the UP unit of the Congress had no choice but to decide that they would contest the elections on their own. “All the senior leaders of the Congress have rejected any coalition politics in Uttar Pradesh and they have asked that the Congress should contest the elections on its own,” R.P.N. Singh said after the meeting.