The Congress may have performed better than expected in the just concluded Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and returned to power in the three states, the plan of stitching a Grand Alliance or Mahagathbandhan to the challenge the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019 appears to be far fetched one.
Despite the Congress's decent show in Assembly elections, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav are not ready to form an alliance with Rahul Gandhi's party in Uttar Pradesh for next year's general elections.
According to sources, BSP and SP are not in mood to let Congress join the alliance and favour Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) instead. However, SP, BSP are unlikely to contest from Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Lok Sabha constituencies of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi respectively.
Mayawati believes that Congress fails to transfer its votes to other parties, so it will not be useful for the alliance, sources said.
As per the seat sharing sharing formula which is still being worked out, RLD has been offered three out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. The SP wants the remaining 77 seats to be shared with BSP. However, Mayawati is not happy with the arrangement and is said to be pushing for more seats.
Meanwhile, Ram Gopal Yadav, senior Samajwadi Party leader and Rajya Sabha member, has rejected reports of any such seat sharing formula being finalised. "All this is mere speculation," he told reporters outside Parliament in New Delhi.
Watch:Mahagathbandhan remains distant dream in UP