After the JD(U), the Samajwadi Party (SP) has now decided to
contest in three of the four states going to the Assembly elections
starting next month.
JD(U) to contest in three states
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The ruling party of Uttar Pradesh has decided to contest in 25-30 seats in Assam and around 20 in West Bengal besides in some in Tamil Nadu, too. Kiranmoy Nanda, a former minister in the Left Front government in Bengal and in charge of Bengal and Assam, said. The SP, however, is not contesting the Kerala polls.
The party might be looking to expand its reach beyond UP, which will go to polls early next year, but is it in a position to target other states when the prospects in its own state are not looking too bright?
The SP failed to win a single seat in Assam and Tamil Nadu in the 2011 polls and managed just one seat in Bengal that year. In the Bihar election last year, too, the SP gave candidates in 135 candidates after pulling out of the Grand Alliance but failed to open its account.
The SP has also ruled out alliance with either the Congress, BJP or the Left Front in the states that go to elections next. The party's stand might change if chances emerge on alliance with a regional party.
But will the SP's efforts now to widen its base beyond UP of any use? The party is fighting a serious anti-incumbency problem in the key state and is predicted to finish third after the BSP and BJP in the 2017 polls. In this situation, why waste time seving a pan-Indian ambition and instead work more in the state which matters the most for its survival?
The SP will also do itself no favour by unnecessarily losing some contests in places where it is irrelevant. The initiative to seek an all-India status is good but only when you are on a strong wicket. In 2013, for example, the SP, which was then just a year-old in governance in UP, won Channapatna Assembly seat by defeating the JD(S), which is known to be a strong force in that constituency.
Certain quarters feel the SP's decision to field candidates in other states to eat into other parties' vote share will boost its supporters' morale after the disappointing opinion poll surveys but it could also prove otherwise as some unnecessary losses could leave them more dejected.