Con­gress to con­test all 80 seats in UP

Snubbed by SP and BSP who have joined hands in UP, the Con­gress says it will con­test all the 80 LS seats in the state but in­sists that its doors were open for sec­u­lar par­ties will­ing to de­feat BJP

The Gulf Today - - ASIA -

LUCKNOW: Snubbed by the SP and BSP who have joined hands in Ut­tar Pradesh, the Con­gress on Sun­day said it will con­test all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state but in­sisted that its doors were open for sec­u­lar par­ties will­ing to de­feat the BJP.

A day after arch ri­vals Sa­ma­jwadi Party (SP) and Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party (BSP) an­nounced an al­liance, Con­gress Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Ghu­lam Nabi Azad said his party not be­ing a part of the al­liance was a bless­ing in dis­guise as it will get to con­test all the seats in the state.

“Our party is rather happy... Had there been an al­liance we would have to be con­tend with 25-30 seats. But now we will be con­test­ing in all the seats. We are all pre­pared and will con­test in all the 80 seats,” Azad told the me­dia here.

“We are ready to con­test all the 80 seats but if there are any sec­u­lar party or par­ties whom we ind com­pe­tent to join us in our ight against the BJP, we are ready to ac­com­mo­date them. We wel­come such party or par­ties and we will agree for seat shar­ing,” he said.

Talk­ing about the SP-BSP dump­ing the Con­gress, Azad said: “The Con­gress is the only party that can up­root the Modi gov­ern­ment and de­feat the BJP. We wanted all sec­u­lar par­ties to join our ight against the BJP.

“But if some­one does not want to walk with us, it is their choice, we can­not do any­thing,” he said.

On the SP-BSP com­bine leav­ing out Ame­thi and Rae Bareli − con­stituen­cies held by Con­gress Pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chair­per­son So­nia Gandhi re­spec­tively − Azad said that both the par­ties ear­lier too did not con­test on the two seats.

“This is not a ight for a state, the ight is for Par­lia­ment,” said Azad, while re­main­ing eva­sive about a post-poll al­liance.

The Con­gress leader spoke after a meet­ing at the party’s state head­quar­ters here.

“We had ear­lier also said that we are ready to walk with ev­ery party that wants to de­feat the BJP. But we can’t force any­one. They have (SP-BSP) closed this chap­ter, so we will con­tinue this ight to de­feat the BJP on our own,” he said.

“For the last 3-4 years we have been talk­ing about sec­u­lar par­ties join­ing hands against the BJP. Some of them like N. Chan­drababu Naidu’s TDP (Tel­ugu De­sam Party) has come on its own. So whether we are talk­ing with some par­ties for an al­liance or not, that is not some­thing to be in­formed in a press con­fer­ence,” said Azad, on be­ing asked if the Con­gress was in talks with other par­ties for stictch­ing a grand al­liance in the Lok Sabha polls.

The Con­gress also re­fused to com­ment on the Prime Min­is­te­rial face, say­ing the bat­tle was irst about de­feat­ing the BJP.

On Satur­day, the BSP and SP, bury­ing a quar­ter cen­tury of an­i­mos­ity, an­nounced they will ight the Lok Sabha polls jointly in Ut­tar Pradesh − 38 seats each. Apart from Ame­thi and Rae Bareli, they are ex­pected to ac­com­mo­date the RLD in two seats in western Ut­tar Pradesh.

In 2014, the BJP swept 71 of the 80 seats while an ally won two more seats. The Con­gress won only from Ame­thi and Rae Bareli while the BSP drew a blank. The Sa­ma­jwadi Party got ive seats.

Reuters

Rahul Gandhi speaks at a rally in Dubai on Satur­day.

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