SP joins Rajasthan front

The Samajwadi Party (SP) will contest 50 of 200 seats in Rajasthan, its share in an alliance with the CPI, CPM, JD(U) and JD(S). These parties have forged a front, Rajasthan Loktantrik Morcha.

In 2008, the SP had contested 64 seats and polled 2.40 per cent of the votes. It won only one seat, Rajgarh-Laxmangarh (ST), which went to Suraj Bhan Dhanaka.

Of the five parties in the front, which contested separately last time, the best any did was the three seats won by the CPM, which contested 34 seats and polled 9.22 per cent of the votes there. The JD(U) won one, the remaining two parties none.

"Our morcha was loosely formed some months ago. Everything has been finalised now," said Anil Shekhawat, vice president of the SP's Rajasthan unit. "Since our areas of influence are also different, there is no dispute on seat sharing,"

Opposition to the constitutional amendment for reservation in promotion will be the SP's major plank. The state has nearly 7.5 lakh state and central government employees. The SP will also highlight the Gopalgarh massacre where 10 Muslims were killed in 2011, Shekhawat said. And it will seek to woo scheduled tribes that feel dominated by the Meena community.

The SP's focus will be on reserved seats where it performed relatively well in certain pockets. At Todabhim (ST) in Karauli, currently held by Kirori Lal Meena, SP candidate Matadeen Dhanaka had finished second there. In Lalsot (ST) too, Babulal Dhanaka had been runner-up. The SP is also eyeing the Alwar belt, which has a significant population of Yadav voters. It will field retired Rajasthan Administrative Services officer Dheeraj Mal from Banswara.

UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, minister Azam Khan and Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan will be the star campaigners.

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