With­drawal Pangs for SP And Congress COM­ING

In at least 17 seats ear­marked for Cong, SP can­di­dates are also in the fray

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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

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