Akhilesh Yadav’s offer came after a talk between SP and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azaad and a special emissary of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Lucknow.
However, there is no official word from Congress yet on whether it has accepted the SP offer of 100 seats or rejected it.
“The alliance has nearly fallen apart. The UP chief minister (Akhilesh Yadav) had offered 100 seats to the Congress, but they’re unwilling to accept less than 120 seats,” SP’s Uttar Pradesh unit Chief Naresh Agrawal Agrawal told ANI.
On the other hand, UP PCC chief Raj Babbar assured there is no breakdown in talks.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad added that the fate of the Congress-SP allaince will be known by Sunday morning.
As per party insiders, the main bone of contention between the two parties emerged when the Congress wanted more seats in Rae Bareli and Amethi constituencies, the stronghold of the Gandhi family whereas the Samajwadi Party was unwilling to field their ‘failed’ candidates on the same.
BJP state president Keshav Prasad Maurya said that irrespective of whether the Congress-SP alliance works out or not, it would have no impact on the saffron party’s prospects in the UP polls.
The political pundits added that the failure talks between SP and Congress will tilt voters of BSP especially Muslims as the SP was battling a damaging power struggle and the Congress despite a month-long campaign to woo farmers was still struggling to be taken seriously.
Experts said “SP has lost its image among Muslim voters. Now to stop alleged communal forces like BJP, they will have to opt for BSP.”
“Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal is bound to disturb SP’s equation not only with Muslims but also with other communities, including the upper castes and backwards who voted largely in favour of SP during the 2012 assembly elections.” Experts said.
They added Muslims have been divided between BSP and SP, so the existing situation in the ruling party should tilt the community heavily in the favour of BSP.
BSP national general secretary and Mayawati’s close aide Satish Chandra Mishra said uncertainty within the SP will have an impact across caste and religious lines.
Sources added that the BSP Chief will now increase her Muslim outreach to club the community with Dalits and position herself squarely against the BJP. Political experts said a stronger BSP could get the backing of Muslims, who otherwise have traditionally sided with the SP.
Statistics show that while the SP has been getting between 55% and 60% of the Muslim vote, the BSP has had to satisfy itself with 15% to 18%.
Muslims’ contribution to the BSP’s overall vote share—it slipped from 30.43% in 2007 to 25.91% in the 2012 assembly polls—has not been significant.
Sources said the BSP chief understands that the Dalit-Muslim combine will prove to be a make-or-break factor.
Mayawati has been attempting to drive a wedge in the Yadav clan by accusing SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav of making Shivpal a scapegoat out of ‘Putramoh’ (love for son Akhilesh).
In doing so, sources said, Mayawati has tried to send a message to Muslims who identify themselves more with Mulayam than with Akhilesh.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will release the party’s manifesto at 11 a.m. on Sunday in Lucknow.