Withdrawal Pangs for SP And Congress COMING
In at least 17 seats earmarked for Cong, SP candidates are also in the fray
New Delhi: Dual SP and Congress candidates in some key seats in Uttar Pradesh are turning into a major cause for concern for the fledgling alliance partners. The senior leaders of both the parties met on Monday evening to sort out the issue. With the Congress reportedly asking its four candidates, including Maroof Khan ( Lucknow Central), to withdraw in favour of the SP candidate, the disquiet in the GOP camp has grown considerably. The Congress is also likely to withdraw from Mankapur, Shohratgarh and Payagpur.
As per the arrangement, the SP was to field 298 candidates and the Congress 105. But in at least 17 constituencies earmarked for Congress, SP candidates are also in the fray. In Kanpur Cantt, Congress’ Sohail Ansari and SP’s Haroon Rumi are in the fray. In Lucknow Central, SP candidate is Ravidas Mehrotra. In Saraini, SP’s Devendra Pratap Singh is holding fort against Congress’ Ashok Singh. In Balrampur (a reserved constituency), Congress’ Shivlal is up against SP’s Gurudas Saroj. In Gorakhpur (Urban), it is Congress’ Rana Rahul Singh versus SP’s Rahul Gupta. In Chhanbey, it is Congress’ Bhagwati Chowdhary versus SP’s Bhai Lal Kol.
With no signs of the SP candidates withdrawing their nominations, there is considerable discomfort in the Congress camp. It is gathered that as per the arrangement devised by Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor, SP candidates will withdraw from the fray only 4-5 days ahead of the polls. The UP Congress leaders argue this will be of little use as the SP candidates would have completed the campaign and gar nered votes that should go to the alliance partner. The purpose of having an alliance with the SP would be defeated at least in these constituencies, the Congress feels.
The state Congress is demanding that in constituencies where the withdrawal deadline has ended, a joint press meet be organised to announce the withdrawal of the SP candidate followed by the person campaigning for the Congress candidate. Congress also wants SP candidates to withdraw soon in seats where there was still time for formal withdrawal of candidature. But the Kishor camp has argued that it would be advantageous to have the SP candidate in the fray until a few days before polls as the ‘combine would stay strong’. Congress’ Chhanbey candidate Chaudhary is the chairman of the state unit’s SC department and Kishor has objected to his candidature and has reportedly refused to help him with the campaign if Chaudhary is fielded. The matter is said to have been taken up with Priyanka Gandhi on Monday. Kishor did not respond to ET’s attempts to reach him.
Kishor has objected to Congress’ Chhanbey candidate Chaudhary