Mayawati denies tweeting poster featuring Akhilesh Yadav
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SP at its wits’s end over Mahagathbandhan for 2019 polls

Lucknow, Sep19: Samajwadi Party is at its wit's end following the repeated assertion of 'respectable share of seats' as condition for joining the anti-BJP secular Maha Gathbandhan by the Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati.

Ms Mayawati made this assertion earlier in March soon after the Rajya Sabha election and later on Sunday last. "Earlier we were of the view she is exerting pressure on the Congress for assembly seats in poll bound states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Now it appears that Mayawati has national ambitions and wants to have nation-wide alliance with the Congress and Samajwadi party will be a partner in Uttar Pradesh’’, said a senior Samajwadi Party leader here on Tuesday. "Akhilesh Yadav has already said that out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, he will offer 36 seats to the BSP," he said. In contrast, the SP chief has decided to keep only 32 seats for his own party.

The source added that the Congress, which has expressed an interest in joining the grand alliance after it stood a distant third in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha by polls, has asked for at least 9 seats.
For the Congress, the Amethi and Rae Bareli seats, which are represented by Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi respectively, are non-negotiable. In addition to these, the Congress has expressed interest in contesting from Kushinagar and Saharanpur. But the allocation depends on the performance of the Congress upcoming Assembly elections in five states.

"Akhilesh Yadav has decided that no matter what, he will make sure that this opposition alliance takes shape. There is a common saying - "jiski UP uska desh". "So this is where we can stop the Modi juggernaut. The formula was decided earlier and now, I can assure you that seat sharing will not be an issue. We are going to go to great lengths to accommodate the aspirations of Bahujan Samaj Party’’, SP leader said.

The fourth partner in the equation is the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which is likely to get three seats.
A source close to RLD Chief Ajit Singh said “Initially, when neither Congress nor RLD were in the picture, Mayawati had suggested that both SP and BSP contest 40 seats each. But after the Kairana by poll, she has ceded some space for the Congress but has made it clear that any seats for RLD or other smaller parties like the NISHAD Party will come from the SP's kitty."

The seats being reserved for the RLD are likely to be Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat along with Kairana, which the RLD wrested from the BJP in the recent by polls. The RLD reportedly wants to contest the Mathura seat as well, but consensus has not yet been built on that. Samajwadi Party is however, confident that the headway for alliance will emerge only after the elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are concluded.UNI