Lucknow: Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Akhilesh Yadav will sound the poll bugle in Chhattisgarh on September 25. Chattishgarh is due for assembly polls towards the year-end.
Akhilesh’s outing is part of the party’s plan of electorally expanding out of Uttar Pradesh as it aspires to turn a national party from its present status of a regional political party.
Akhilesh might meet Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel during the visit.
Chhattisgarh is a Congress-ruled state and the Samajwadi Party has never won an assembly or Lok Sabha seat in the state. The party’s Chhattisgarh unit has identified 40 assembly seats where its candidates can be fielded.
Chhattisgarh is due for polls towards the end of this year along with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, and Telangana, though the Election Commission has not yet notified them. The SP has announced that it will contest polls in all the states (except Mizoram). The party has already declared its candidates on six assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh.
Akhilesh will address a public meeting at Agrasen Dhaam in Raipur, the state capital of Chhattisgarh. He will also chair a party workers’ meeting.
Ahead of Akhilesh Yadav’s meeting, the Chattisgarh unit of the SP has made a list of 40 constituencies it intends to contest even as the SP has now become part of the INDIA coalition of the opposition parties in the country for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Chhattisgarh has 90 assembly and 11 Lok Sabha seats. In 2018, the SP contested about 10 assembly seats but won none.
Talking about the party’s assembly poll plans, Chhattisgarh state unit president Navin Gupta said: “We are preparing for polls and we will have more discussions with the party’s national president when he comes here. So far as the INDIA coalition is concerned, it is for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. We have not had any discussions with the Chhattisgarh unit of the Congress over the assembly polls. When Akhileshji comes here, he might meet CM Bhupesh Baghel. Then we will do whatever we are told”.
SP’s former Chhattisgarh state president and working committee member Om Prakash Sahu also said that the INDIA coalition was for the Lok Sabha polls and added: “But we will have a friendly fight with the Congress in the assembly polls so that our political presence and visibility increases in the state”.
The Samajwadi Party aims to become a national political party in five years. Since its inception in 1992, the SP has been U.P’s regional party.
The SP has won assembly seats outside the U.P. in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh (in a constituency that now falls in Telangana), and Gujarat.
The Election Commission recognises a political party as a national one if it secures at least 6% of the total valid votes polled in four or more states in a general election to the Lok Sabha or to the legislative assembly.