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Samajwadi Party (SP) Plans to Contest Seats in Chhattisgarh, Raises Stakes for 2024 UP Elections

Despite being a member of the opposition alliance known as INDIA, the Samajwadi Party (SP) is considering contesting multiple seats in the Congress-ruled states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh during the upcoming assembly elections. This move appears to be aimed at expanding the SP's national presence.

By Rekha Joshi 
Updated Date

Despite being a member of the opposition alliance INDIA, the Samajwadi Party (SP) is considering contesting multiple seats in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh during the upcoming Assembly elections. This move is aimed at expanding its national presence. The Congress is a crucial member of the 28-party INDIA bloc, which is a coalition of opposition parties formed to challenge the ruling BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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According to sources within the SP’s Chhattisgarh unit, the party is contemplating contesting approximately 40 out of the state’s 90 Assembly seats. Additionally, the SP intends to participate in the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, which is also scheduled to go to polls later this year. The Congress serves as the primary opposition party in Madhya Pradesh and is poised to challenge the incumbent BJP in the elections.

Sources suggest that the SP’s strategy of fielding candidates in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh is aimed at securing favorable seat-sharing arrangements in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, where the SP is the principal opposition party against the BJP.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav has already announced candidates for two Scheduled Tribes (STs)-reserved seats in Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi district, which shares its border with Uttar Pradesh.

In preparation for contesting seats in Chhattisgarh, Akhilesh is scheduled to visit the state on September 25 to discuss the party’s strategy for the Assembly elections.

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In the 2018 Chhattisgarh Assembly polls, the SP fielded candidates in 10 constituencies but failed to secure victories in any of them.

Naveen Gupta, the Chhattisgarh SP president, confirmed that the party is planning to contest 40 seats in the state for the upcoming Assembly elections. However, he reiterated that the SP’s alliance with the Congress (as part of the INDIA bloc) is specifically for Lok Sabha elections, and decisions regarding state polls will be made through discussions.

SP national spokesperson Rajendra Choudhary also stated that the party would field its candidates in Chhattisgarh after holding talks with the Congress. He emphasized that any decisions made regarding Chhattisgarh would consider the INDIA alliance.

Sources also suggest that Akhilesh Yadav may meet with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel during his visit to Raipur. However, the outcome of this meeting remains uncertain.

Tensions between the Congress and the SP surfaced after the recent Assembly bypoll in Uttarakhand’s Bageshwar, with the Congress blaming the SP for its candidate’s loss to the BJP. The SP argued that the Congress never sought support for the bypoll, unlike the SP’s gesture during the Ghosi bypoll in Uttar Pradesh, which the SP won against the BJP.

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A senior UP Congress leader urged the SP not to harm the Congress’s prospects in states where the SP has little presence, such as Chhattisgarh.

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