Congress to contest all 80 seats from UP

A day after it was virtually left out being part of an anti-BJP alliance formed by the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, the Congress on Sunday declared it will contest all the 80 Lok Sabha seats from the state on its own. PTI photo

A day after the Congress was excluded from the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh, the party vowed to contest all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the upcoming Parliamentary elections.

It the accused the Samajwadi Party(SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) of ''breaking'' the grand alliance.

"We did not break the alliance... They (SP-BSP) did... They have closed the chapter (alliance),'', senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters in Lucknow.

Azad said that the Congress was the only party, which could challenge the BJP at the national level in the forthcoming general elections.

''We should remember that the forthcoming polls are for the Centre and not for states... Only the Congress can defeat the BJP... We would like all secular parties to join our alliance... Some have already joined... Those, who do not want to join, are free to take their own decision,'' he said.

The senior leader said that the Congress was not ''disappointed'' at being excluded from the SP-BSP alliance. ''It is their decision... We can not force any one,'' he added.

He said that his party was not averse to joining hands with ''secular'' parties in the state and spare a few seats for them.

''We may leave seats for those, who choose to join hands with us,'' he said in reply to a question.

Azad said that the party had planned several rallies of Congress president Rahul Gandhi in different parts of the state beginning next month.

"We had surprised every one by winning the maximum number of seats in 2009 Lok Sabha polls... We will again surprise everyone in 2019,'' he remarked.

He sought to counter BSP supremo Mayawati on the latter's charge of corruption in Bofors saying that neither the then V P Singh government nor the Narendra Modi government could find any evidence of corruption in the deal.

Azad evaded a direct reply on whether his party would tie-up with the SP and the BSP after the Lok Sabha polls saying that it would be decided, when the time comes.

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