Cong to contest against Mulayam

Hints at fielding candidates from Mainpuri, other family boroughs

In a significant political development indicating straining of ties between the Congress and Samajwadi Party, the former on Tuesday dropped hints that it could consider fielding a candidate from Mainpuri, which is represented by SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav in the Lok Sabha, for the general elections.

The Congress also hinted that it could contest from Etawah and some other seats, which were held by members of Mulayam’s family.

State Congress chief Nirmal Khatri and the state in-charge Madhusudan Mistri said party workers from Etawah and Mainpuri had complained that the morale of the workers in these areas were quite low as  Congress had not contested from the two seats in the 2009 polls.

They demanded that the party should contest from Etawah and Mainpuri this time.
“Congress supporters not only got demoralised but also looked for other options when the party decided not to contest from Mainpuri and Etawah,” Khatri told reporters quoting the party workers from the areas.

He said senior party leaders will tour the region to boost the morale of the workers.
Mistri was here to review the poll-preparedness of the party and held meetings with senior leaders and workers.

He said Congress was in the process of selecting the candidates for the next general elections.

SP general secretary Naresh Agarwal reacted sharply to the Congress leader’s statement saying that the Congress will ‘know its real position’ if it contests from these places.
“It is a childish statement. Congress is nowhere in UP,” Agarwal said.

SP has so far declared the names of its candidates for 74 of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. However, it has not yet declared its nominees from Raebareli and Amethi.

SP leaders said the party may not field any candidate from the two seats.

Last year, Congress had also not fielded its nominee from Kannauj seat when UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav contested from there.

Agarwal did not say if SP will also contest from Raebareli and Amethi in case Congress fields its candidates from Etawah, Mainpuri and Kannauj.

The decision could further strain relations between the two parties. Samajwadi Party is supporting the UPA regime from outside.

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