SP-Cong alliance hits hurdles

SP-Cong alliance hits hurdles

SP-Cong alliance hits hurdles

The much-talked about electoral alliance between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress in Uttar Pradesh has come under a cloud after the SP fielded its candidates for seats where the Congress had emerged victorious in 2012 Assembly polls.

The SP, which released its first list of 191 candidates for the first three phases of polling in the western and central UP districts, has left only 18 seats for the Congress. In all, polling will be held for 209 seats in the first three phases. In what is being perceived here as a “pressure tactic” following the Congress’ “unreasonable” demand for over 100 seats, the SP fielded its nominees for nine seats, which were won by the Congress in 2012.

SP vice president Kironmoy Nanda told reporters here on Friday that his party was in favour of an electoral alliance with the Congress but it has not received any “positive response” from the Congress “so far”.  He also indicated that the SP could “withdraw” its nominees from the seats where the Congress had emerged victorious last time.

“The Congress had won 28 seats in 2012 and finished runner-up in 26 seats. It deserves 54 seats. But we are ready to give it 84-85 seats,” he said.

Nanda also made it clear that the SP would contest all the seats in Amethi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and four of five seats in Raebareli, the Lok Sabha constituency of Sonia Gandhi. The Congress has sought all the seats in the two districts.

The Congress appeared stunned over the development.

“It is unfortunate that out of 191 seats which were declared today (Friday) by SP, 8 seats belonged to the sitting Congress MLAs,” AICC spokesman Ajay Maken said.

AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad went into a huddle with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Priyanka Vadra also joined the deliberations. Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar was rushed to Lucknow to talk to Akhilesh.