Grand alliance remains a pipe dream in UP (News Analysis)

Lucknow, Nov 3 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party is treading cautiously on the possibility of weaving a grand alliance in the coming assembly polls.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who began a ‘Vikas Rath Yatra’ on Thursday, said he was not aware of any such proposal.

His uncle and state Samajwadi Party chief Shivpal Singh Yadav also said that invites to old socialist leaders for the party’s silver jubilee should not be seen as efforts to sew a grand alliance.

“The matter will be dealt by the national leadership of our party but we do want all secular forces to come together and defeat the BJP,” he said.

Earlier, Akhilesh Yadav said he was not aware of any such alliance. “I leave it to the wisdom of Netaji to decide on the matter,” he said, referring to his father and Samajwadi Party supremo Mualayam Singh Yadav.

Akhilesh Yadav has so far been championing a go-alone policy and has expressed confidence that the Samajwadi Party will retain power based on his work over the last five years.

But with the party and the Yadav family deeply divided on many issues, behind-the-door action picked up early this week when election strategist Prashant Kishore met Mulayam Singh at his New Delhi residence.

Accompanied by Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh, the two were closeted for more than two hours, triggering speculation that a grand alliance was on the way.

Amar Singh is said to be keen on a tie-up between the Samajwadi Party and like-minded parties.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, who is attending the November 5 event of the Samajwadi Party along with former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, says there are no talks of any alliance as of now.

Informed sources say that Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal-United and RJD were in no hurry to bell the cat.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is said to feel that any alliance would be of no consequence in Uttar Pradesh if it did not have the stamp of approval of Akhilesh Yadav.

Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh, however, is seemingly inclined towards such an arrangement.

With depleting support base in western Uttar Pradesh and continued isolation in state and central politics, he is learnt to be warm to the idea of a grand alliance if his party gets a share of 50-odd seats in Uttar Pradesh.

Highly-placed sources say the only stumbling block in the copy book script seems to the Congress, a party which the Samajwadi Party wants to maintain some distance with — for more reasons than one.

Shivpal Yadav made it clear that no invite had been sent to the Congress and its leaders for the Samajwadi Party event.

Another major player in the state, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), is also set it fight the election on its own strength.

A resurgent Mayawati means a block missing from the secular pie, making the possibility of a grand alliance further feeble in Uttar Pradesh.

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at mohit.d@ians.in)

–IANS

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