Cong, SP clinch pre-poll pact

Cong, SP clinch pre-poll pact

After hard bargaining over seat-sharing, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress on Sunday formally announced a “historic” alliance in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

Though details of the seats to be contested by the two parties were not announced, state SP president Naresh Uttam and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar, at a joint press conference here, said the SP would contest 298 seats and Congress the remaining 105.

The two leaders termed the alliance a “new beginning”, which would put the state on the path of development and rid it of the “polarising” and “communal” policies of the BJP.

“It is a historic beginning to uproot the BJP and BSP... it will herald a new era in UP... it shows our commitment towards communal amity and peaceful coexistence,” he said.

Uttam made it clear that Akhilesh Yadav would be the face of the alliance. “The Congress and SP will contest the polls together... we will make Akhilesh Yadav chief minister again,” he said.

Babbar said the alliance would give people a “common minimum programme within one week of forming the next government”, which would ensure “transparent governance” and all-round development of the state.

“We will seek the mandate of the people on the basis of constructive policies and programmes, and not on caste or religion,” he added.

The pre-poll pact had earlier hit a hurdle over seat-sharing and both the parties had put up their candidates for almost all the seats, where polling was scheduled in the first two phases.

Sources said hectic parleys between the two parties continued late on Saturday.
The Samajwadi Party had offered 85 seats to the Congress, but it wanted 120. As neither of them wanted a division of Muslim votes, which play a crucial role in around 125 seats, a deal was finally struck.
DH News Service

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