SP likely to ally with Om Prakash Rajbhar's SBSP in UP

Lucknow: The Samajwadi Party (SP) is likely to enter into an alliance with the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) for the upcoming by-elections to 13 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh.

The SP's alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had cracked up after the Lok Sabha elections while the SBSP-BJP alliance also snapped during the polls.

SBSP President and former Uttar Pradesh minister Om Prakash Rajbhar had a meeting with Akhilesh Yadav a couple of days ago and the two leaders are said to have discussed the possibility of an alliance for the assembly by-polls. According to sources in the SP, the two parties have almost decided to treat the by-elections as a 'test case' for the future alliance.

"SP represents the major OBC vote base, mainly the Yadavs, while the SBSP is a party of the Rajbhar community. We hope to get some more parties on board for the by-elections," a source said.

An SBSP leader said that this alliance would lead to a consolidation of other backward castes that have veered towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in recent years.

"SP and SBSP leaders have realised that the BJP will pose a tough threat in the by-elections and then in the 2022 Assembly polls. The alliance could emerge as a formidable political force since SBSP wields influence in about two dozen Assembly seats having a sizeable Rajbhar population," said a SBSP leader.

The SBSP, sources said, has sought the Jalalpur (Ambedkar Nagar), Ghosi (Mau) and Balha (Bahraich) seats where by-elections are due. All three seats have a good share of Rajbhar votes and combined with Yadav and Muslim voters, the balance could tilt in favour of the party.

The SP, meanwhile, is also keen to stitch a new alliance, especially after the manner in which it was dumped by the BSP. Also, the SP wants to boost the morale of party cadres and infuse hopes of a revival.

Assembly by-elections in Uttar Pradesh are scheduled to be held soon in Rampur, Tundla, Iglas, Gangoh, Jalalpur, Zaidpur, Balha, Lucknow Cantonment, Kanpur, Pratapgarh, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur and Agra assembly constituencies.

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