Cong, SP tie-up; RLD kept out for now

Cong, SP tie-up; RLD kept out for now

The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress stitched an alliance after some hard bargaining to fight the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), also an aspirant, has been kept out “as of now” owing to differences in the seat-sharing arrangement.

SP vice-president Kironmoy Nanda said that his party would have an electoral alliance only with the Congress.

“We will have an alliance with the Congress...We will not have any truck with any other regional outfits”, Nanda said during an informal chat with reporters here after attending a meeting headed by Chief Minister and party national president Akhilesh Yadav.

“We will contest on 300 plus seats....the rest will go to the Congress”, Nanda said, but insisted that the SP was yet to hold talks with the RLD.

A source in the SP said the party would have no objection if the Congress offered some of its seats to the RLD, which has been kept out of the alliance as it demanded 36 seats, mainly in the Jat-dominated western Uttar Pradesh.

Though the RLD scaled-down its demand to 30 seats, the Congress is not prepared to give more than 20 seats.

The source said that the SP is not very enthusiastic about taking the RLD along as the party has lost much of its support base among the Jats to the BJP after the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.

An SP leader told DH: “An alliance with the RLD may also affect our Muslim vote bank...The relations between Jats and Muslims, which formed the core vote bank of the RLD, have soured following the riots”. An RLD leader, however, said that talks were still on with the Congress.

A source said that the Congress and the SP are busy identifying seats to contest the polls. The Congress may end up getting more seats in the western region, where the SP does not have a wide support base.

The SP leader said, “The Congress may be given all the seats which it won in 2012 as well as the seats where its nominees finished second or ahead of us.”

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