PM candidate only after LS polls, says Cong

The Congress on Friday made it clear that it will not have any alliances for the 2019 elections with parties that do not subscribe to its ideology or were a direct rival in states.

Top Congress sources said a “strategic understanding” has been reached with the Samajwadi Party and the BSP in Uttar Pradesh and the three parties will contest the Lok Saba elections in the states together.

The sources said the Congress was banking on the reversal of BJP's fortunes in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra – which together have 168 Lok Sabha seats – but ruled out any understanding with the Shiv Sena, which is unhappy with the BJP. The Congress is also certain of its alliance partners in these states.

They also made it clear that the Congress will have no truck with the TRS in Telangana and AAP in Delhi where the two parties were its direct rivals.

The Congress was also confident of “significantly better trendline” in the Parliamentary elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Punjab, Haryana and Jharkhand – states where the BJP had delivered peak performance.

The sources said that the opposition grouping would stay away from the debate on the issue of its prime ministerial face and insisted that it would be decided after the Lok Sabha election results were declared.

Outlining a two-point strategy for the opposition, the sources said Congress' primary aim would be to bring together ideologically like-minded political parties to defeat the BJP.

“Our line is clear – without any confusion or disruption – defeat the BJP. The rest of the things will be decided after the results of the Lok Sabha elections,” the sources said.

In the backdrop of speculation that Congress president Rahul Gandhi could shift his parliamentary seat to Rae Bareli, the constituency of his mother Sonia Gandhi, the sources said he would contest from Amethi.

The party source, at the same time, added that it was still not clear whether Sonia Gandhi would seek re-election from Rae Bareli. There is also a buzz that if Rahul sticks to his Amethi seat and Sonia pulls out of the poll fray, the Congress might field Priyanka Vadra from the family pocket borough of Rae Bareli.

A senior party functionary declined to comment whether Priyanka would join the nation-wide campaign for the next Lok Sabha polls saying “it is for her to decide”.

The sources said there has been no discussion yet with the former Congress president on whether she was keen to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress will contest the elections on two key issues – agrarian distress and increasing unemployment and make every effort to defuse the BJP's attempts at polarising the electorate on communal lines.

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PM candidate only after LS polls, says Cong

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