Assembly elections

Will they, won't they? 15 seats could be standing in the way of a Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance

The insistence by Congress for seats that the ruling dispensation had won in the 2012 Assembly elections has become a sticking point.

If there is one thing that has stalled the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance in Uttar Pradesh, strong indications of which had been going on for months, it is this: the grand old party’s insistence on contesting from 15-odd seats that the ruling dispensation had won in the 2012 Assembly elections in the state.

The seats are part of 31 Assembly constituencies in which the Congress had come second in that election. While 15 had gone to the Samajwadi Party, the others are with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. Sources in the Samajwadi Party, however, said it would not be possible for the party to give up its claim on all its 15 seats that the Congress is adamant on.

As a concession, the party has indicated that it is ready to give up its claim over some other Assembly seats that it holds, especially those that fall in the Congress strongholds of Rae Bareli, President Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency, and Amethi, of which Vice President Rahul Gandhi is the MP.

Deadlock over seats

In 2012, the Congress had won in two of the five Assembly segments under the Amethi Lok Sabha seat – Tiloi and Jagdishpur – and was runner up in Salon, Gauriganj and Amethi (assembly seat), which went to the Samajwadi Party.

It fared even worse Rae Bareli, where the party had lost all five Assembly seats, finishing third in all segments barring Harchandpur, where its candidate came second. The Samajwadi Party won four of the five seats.

There have been back-of-the-envelope talks between the two parties about stitching up a secular alliance for next year’s polls, to posit a strong alternative to the BJP and Mayawati’s BSP. Murmurs of a probably tie up have been growing in recent months, with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav also hinting at it. But the deadlock over seat-sharing has cast a shadow over the possibility of the alliance.

“We are ready to discuss those Assembly seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli where Congress had come number two,” a senior Samajwadi Party leader said. “But giving up as many as 15 sitting seats to the Congress is almost impossible. Both parties will have to be flexible so that a secular alliance can emerge in the state.”

In all, the Congress is looking to contest in 100 seats – out of the 404 in the state – in the polls next year if it allies with the Samajwadi Party. The party is said to be adamant that this list include the 31 seats in which it came second in 2012, along with the 28 it won that year. The Samajwadi Party had won the 2012 polls with 224 out of 403 seats.

Outlook bleak?

Uttar Pradesh was once a Congress bastion, but the grand old party has not held power in the state since 1989. Since 2002, the state has alternated between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

However, the Samajwadi Party is facing strong anti-incumbency and the very public family feud between Akhilesh Yadav and uncle Shivpal Yadav, which divided the party into two camps, has dented their image. The Congress believes that its role would be crucial for Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, as it could pull in the Muslim vote. Muslims and Yadavs usually support the Samajwadi Party, while Mayawati is eyeing a Muslim-Dalit combination of votes to propel her to victory. An alliance, many leaders feel, is thus the Congress’ only real chance at coming to power in the state.

With seat-sharing proving to be a major obstacle that could possibly derail the alliance, Congress leaders are now doing what they had avoided so far – publicly denying talks of a tie-up between the two parties.

This is perhaps what led Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh to tell party workers in Meerut on Saturday, “We are not planning an alliance with either the Samajwadi or any other party ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls.” He urged them to focus on ensuring a Congress victory and said that “all this talk of alliance is being spread by opposition parties.”

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Ten awesome TV shows to get over your post-GoT blues

With those withdrawal symptoms kicking in, all you need is a good rebound show.

Hangovers tend to have a debilitating effect on various human faculties, but a timely cure can ease that hollow feeling generally felt in the pit of the stomach. The Game of Thrones Season 7 finale has left us with that similar empty feeling, worsened by an official statement on the 16-month-long wait to witness The Great War. That indeed is a long time away from our friends Dany, Jon, Queen C and even sweet, sweet Podrick. While nothing can quite replace the frosty thrill of Game of Thrones, here’s a list of awesome shows, several having won multiple Emmy awards, that are sure to vanquish those nasty withdrawal symptoms:

1. Billions

There is no better setting for high stakes white collar crime than the Big Apple. And featuring a suited-up Paul Giamatti going head-to-head with the rich and ruthless Damien Lewis in New York, what’s not to like? Only two seasons young, this ShowTime original series promises a wolf-of-wall-street style showcase of power, corruption and untold riches. Billions is a great high-octane drama option if you want to keep the momentum going post GoT.

Watch Billions Now

2. Westworld

What do you get when the makers of the Dark Knight Trilogy and the studio behind Game of Thrones collaborate to remake a Michael Crichton classic? Westworld brings together two worlds: an imagined future and the old American West, with cowboys, gun slingers - the works. This sci-fi series manages to hold on to a dark secret by wrapping it with the excitement and adventure of the wild west. Once the plot is unwrapped, the secret reveals itself as a genius interpretation of human nature and what it means to be human. Regardless of what headspace you’re in, this Emmy-nominated series will absorb you in its expansive and futuristic world. If you don’t find all of the above compelling enough, you may want to watch Westworld simply because George RR Martin himself recommends it! Westworld will return for season 2 in the spring of 2018.

Watch Westworld Now

3. Big Little Lies

It’s a distinct possibility that your first impressions of this show, whether you form those from the trailer or opening sequence, will make you think this is just another sun-kissed and glossy Californian drama. Until, the dark theme of BLL descends like an eerie mist, that is. With the serious acting chops of Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman as leads, this murder mystery is one of a kind. Adapted from author Liane Moriarty’s book, this female-led show has received accolades for shattering the one-dimensional portrayal of women on TV. Despite the stellar star cast, this Emmy-nominated show wasn’t easy to make. You should watch Big Little Lies if only for Reese Witherspoon’s long struggle to get it off the ground.

Watch Big Little Lies Now

4. The Night of

The Night Of is one of the few crime dramas featuring South Asians without resorting to tired stereotypes. It’s the kind of show that will keep you in its grip with its mysterious plotline, have you rooting for its characters and leave you devastated and furious. While the narrative revolves around a murder and the mystery that surrounds it, its undertones raises questions on racial, class and courtroom politics. If you’re a fan of True Detective or Law & Order and are looking for something serious and thoughtful, look no further than this series of critical acclaim.

Watch The Night Of Now

5. American Horror Story

As the name suggests, AHS is a horror anthology for those who can stomach some gore and more. In its 6 seasons, the show has covered a wide range of horror settings like a murder house, freak shows, asylums etc. and the latest season is set to explore cults. Fans of Sarah Paulson and Jessica Lange are in for a treat, as are Lady Gaga’s fans. If you pride yourself on not being weak of the heart, give American Horror Story a try.

Watch American Horror Story Now

6. Empire

At its heart, Empire is a simple show about a family business. It just so happens that this family business is a bit different from the sort you are probably accustomed to, because this business entails running a record label, managing artistes and when push comes to shove, dealing with rivals in a permanent sort of manner. Empire treads some unique ground as a fairly violent show that also happens to be a musical. Lead actors Taraji P Henson and Terrence Howard certainly make it worth your while to visit this universe, but it’s the constantly evolving interpersonal relations and bevy of cameo appearances that’ll make you stay. If you’re a fan of hip hop, you’ll enjoy a peek into the world that makes it happen. Hey, even if you aren’t one, you might just grow fond of rap and hip hop.

Watch Empire Now

7. Modern Family

When everything else fails, it’s comforting to know that the family will always be there to lift your spirits and keep you chuckling. And by the family we mean the Dunphys, Pritchetts and Tuckers, obviously. Modern Family portrays the hues of familial bonds with an honesty that most family shows would gloss over. Eight seasons in, the show’s characters like Gloria and Phil Dunphy have taken on legendary proportions in their fans’ minds as they navigate their relationships with relentless bumbling humour. If you’re tired of irritating one-liners or shows that try too hard, a Modern Family marathon is in order. This multiple-Emmy-winning sitcom is worth revisiting, especially since the brand new season 9 premiers on 28th September 2017.

Watch Modern Family Now

8. The Deuce

Headlined by James Franco and Maggi Gyllenhaal, The Deuce is not just about the dazzle of the 1970s, with the hippest New York crowd dancing to disco in gloriously flamboyant outfits. What it IS about is the city’s nooks and crannies that contain its underbelly thriving on a drug epidemic. The series portrays the harsh reality of New York city in the 70s following the legalisation of the porn industry intertwined with the turbulence caused by mob violence. You’ll be hooked if you are a fan of The Wire and American Hustle, but keep in mind it’s grimmer and grittier. The Deuce offers a turbulent ride which will leave you wanting more.

Watch The Deuce Now

9. Dexter

In case you’re feeling vengeful, you can always get the spite out of your system vicariously by watching Dexter, our favourite serial killer. This vigilante killer doesn’t hide behind a mask or a costume, but sneaks around like a criminal, targeting the bad guys that have slipped through the justice system. From its premier in 2006 to its series finale in 2013, the Emmy-nominated Michael C Hall, as Dexter, has kept fans in awe of the scientific precision in which he conducts his kills. For those who haven’t seen the show, the opening credits give an accurate glimpse of how captivating the next 45 minutes will be. If it’s been a while since you watched in awe as the opening credits rolled, maybe you should revisit the world’s most loved psychopath for nostalgia’s sake.

Available starting October

10. Rome

If you’re still craving an epic drama with extensive settings and a grandiose plot and sub-plots, Rome, co-produced by HBO and BBC, is where your search stops. Rome is a historical drama that takes you through an overwhelming journey of Ancient Rome’s transition from a republic to an empire. And when it comes to tastes, this series provides the similar full-bodied flavour that you’ve grown to love about Game of Thrones. There’s a lot to take away for those who grew up quoting Julius Caesar, and for those looking for a realistic depiction of the legendary gladiators. If you’re a history buff, give this Emmy-winning show a try.

Watch Rome Now

For your next obsession, Hotstar Premium has you covered with its wide collection of the most watched shows in the world. Apart from the ones we’ve recommended, Indian viewers can now easily watch other universally loved shows such as Silicon Valley and Prison Break, and movies including all titles from the Marvel and Disney universe. So take control of your life again post the Game of Thrones gloom and sign up for the Hotstar Premium membership here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Hotstar and not by the Scroll editorial team.