The I.N.D.I Alliance, comprising parties with diverse ideological backgrounds and multiple PM contenders, is in disarray for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. A clash over seat-sharing in Madhya Pradesh between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress, along with Kamal Nath’s ‘Akhilesh..Wakhilesh’ remark, has sparked a poster war in Uttar Pradesh.
Reports confirm that Congress workers in Lucknow displayed posters featuring Rahul Gandhi as the I.N.D.I bloc’s PM candidate, just three days after the SP party workers projected Akhilesh Yadav. The posters also endorsed state Congress Chief Ajay Rai as the 2027 CM candidate.
VIDEO | New poster outside Congress office in Lucknow reads: “Rahul in 2024, Rai in 2027”, referring to Rahul Gandhi and party’s UP chief Ajay Rai. pic.twitter.com/bzXYX2WLMs
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) October 26, 2023
Notably, on October 23, SP workers in Lucknow put up numerous posters showcasing Akhilesh Yadav as the future PM.
UP: Posters portraying Akhilesh Yadav as “future PM” put up in Lucknow
— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) October 23, 2023
These posters have appeared during a heightened period of discord between Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP), both crucial members of the I.N.D.I bloc—a coalition of 28 political parties united with the primary goal of defeating the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Akhilesh Yadav has expressed apprehensions about the future of the alliance, especially after Congress declined to share seats in the Madhya Pradesh polls.
Akhilesh Yadav, the leader of the Samajwadi Party and a pivotal figure in the I.N.D.I. alliance, recently stated that he wouldn’t have attended any meetings if he had known there would be no state-level cooperation between his party and the Congress. This frustration emerged after his party was completely overlooked in the impending Madhya Pradesh assembly election, scheduled for next month. Despite promises of six seats, the Samajwadi Party wasn’t allocated a single one, leaving Akhilesh Yadav feeling marginalized and infuriated.
He remarked, “A former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh inquired about our performance in the state. We briefed him on the number of seats we had secured, when, and in which constituencies we stood second. We had an extensive discussion. They even woke up Samajwadi Party leaders at 1 a.m. They assured us six seats. However, when the lists were released, there were no seats allotted to the Samajwadi Party.”
In response to the perceived betrayal by the Congress, the Samajwadi Party declared its intention to independently contest the elections and has put forth candidates in as many as 31 constituencies.
Tensions between the two parties have escalated in recent days, particularly since Ajay Rai, the president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress, urged the Samajwadi Party to withdraw from Madhya Pradesh, asserting it lacked a substantial presence there. He argued that the true contest was always between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Adding insult to injury, he pointed out that the party had only won one seat in 2018, and that its sole MLA in the state assembly later switched allegiance.
Several hours after the emergence of Samajwadi Party posters, Akhilesh Yadav addressed the media in Dehradun on Monday (October 23), affirming, “The alliance is very strong, and there are no differences with the grand old party.”
“They have their own perspective; we have ours… We hope that the people of Uttarakhand will join forces with the Samajwadi Party…” clarified the Samajwadi Party chief.