Congress may not be part of 'grand alliance' in UP

Congress may not be part of 'grand alliance' in UP

Congress president Rahul Gandhi. (PTI File Photo)

Finding itself electorally isolated in Uttar Pradesh (UP), the Congress may choose to go alone in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

According to sources in the UP Congress, the party is gearing up to contest the next Lok Sabha elections on its own and has chalked out plans to connect to the electorate through a series of programmes to be launched in the days to come.

Sources said that the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which are likely to forge an alliance to counter the BJP, are very enthusiastic about including the Congress in the "grand alliance".

Sources said that the Congress wanted to contest 17 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state but the SP is in no mood to oblige. "The Congress had won two seats in 2014 and finished as runner-up on six can claim a maximum of eight seats," a senior SP leader told DH.

The Congress dropped a hint when senior party leader and former India cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin visited Moradabad, which he had represented in the Lok Sabha in 2004, and offered Eid prayers there, triggering speculations that he may again contest from there.

Congress leader Nagma also visited Meerut and offered Eid prayers on the same day. "The Congress may be planning to field its senior Muslim leaders from Muslim-dominated constituencies in the western region," said the SP leader.

With the next general elections not far away, it remains to be seen if the Grand Old Party is able to get the number of seats it wanted to contest as part of the "grand alliance".