CONG SET TO CON­TEST ALL 80 LS SEATS ON ITS OWN

Left out of the SP-BSP 2019 pre-poll al­liance in Ut­tar Pradesh

Financial Chronicle - - FUNDAMENTALS, POLITICS - FC BUREAU

LEFT out of the SP-BSP pre­poll tie-up in Ut­tar Pradesh, the Con­gress on Sun­day an­nounced that it would go it alone on all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions.

After a brain­storm­ing ses­sion with se­nior party lead­ers, Con­gress gen­eral sec­re­tary in-charge of Ut­tar Pradesh Ghu­lam Nabi Azad, how­ever, said his party would ac­com­mo­date any sec­u­lar force that was ca­pa­ble of tak­ing on the rul­ing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha polls.

The meet­ing of the Con­gress was held a day after the Sa­ma­jwadi Party (SP) and the Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party (BSP) an­nounced their al­liance in Ut­tar Pradesh, shar­ing 38 seats each and leav­ing two seats for the smaller par­ties, be­sides leav­ing Rae Bareli and Ame­thi for United Pro­gres­sive Al­liance (UPA) chair­per­son So­nia Gandhi and Con­gress chief Rahul Gandhi re­spec­tively.

Azad said, "The Con­gress will con­test on all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Ut­tar Pradesh and de­feat the BJP." He also ex­pressed hope that the Grand Old Party would dou­ble the tally of 21 seats it had se­cured in the state in the 2009 gen­eral elec­tion. To a ques­tion on whether the Con­gress will forge a coali­tion with any other po­lit­i­cal party, Azad said, "If any party is will­ing to ac­com­pany the Con­gress and the Con­gress feels that it can fight the BJP, then it will def­i­nitely be ac­com­mo­dated."

On his party be­ing left out of the SP-BSP al­liance, the Con­gress leader said, "We wanted that the Con­gress should have been a part of the Grand Al­liance (against the BJP) in Ut­tar Pradesh. But if some­one does not want to walk along, noth­ing can be done."

Asked whether the Con­gress would field can­di­dates in seats which will be con­tested by BSP supremo Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Ya­dav (since the SP-BSP al­liance will not field nom­i­nees from Rae Bareli and Ame­thi), Azad did not give any clear an­swer. On the pos­si­bil­ity of a post-poll al­liance with the SP and the BSP, he said at the na­tional level, the Con­gress would wel­come all the sec­u­lar re­gional par­ties.

To an­other ques­tion on the SP-BSP tie-up, Azad said, "The Con­gress work­ers are not at all dis­ap­pointed on be­ing left out of the al­liance. On the con­trary, they are say­ing the party would have had to con­test on 25 seats, but now it would be con­test­ing on all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Con­gress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi will hold at least 13 ral­lies in Ut­tar Pradesh."

At the joint press con­fer­ence with Ya­dav here on Satur­day, Mayawati had ex­plained why the Con­gress was left out of the SP-BSPpre-poll tie up. She had said that dur­ing the Con­gress' rule in the coun­try, poverty, un­em­ploy­ment and cor­rup­tion grew, and there were scams in de­fence deals.

The BSP chief had also pointed out that in the past, her party had not ben­e­fit­ted from seat-shar­ing pacts with the Con­gress. "In the past, I have seen that our votes get trans­ferred to the Con­gress, but not vice-versa. We do not gain from an al­liance with the Con­gress, whereas the vote trans­fer is per­fect in an SP-BSP tie-up," Mayawati had said.

Azad on Sun­day ac­cused the BJP of di­vid­ing the coun­try for power. "The com­ing Lok Sabha elec­tion is a bat­tle to unite In­dia and safe­guard the demo­cratic val­ues," he said. At­tack­ing PM Modi, the Con­gress leader said, "Modi is not con­cerned about the coun­try, he is both­ered about his own chair. One of the big­gest scams has taken place dur­ing the ten­ure of this gov­ern­ment. The gov­ern­ment has not gone for a probe. Not go­ing for a probe does not mean that the scam has not been com­mit­ted."

This is not good. They (SP-BSP) have stitched an al­liance leav­ing Con­gress out of it. The grand al­liance should be formed with Con­gress. This al­liance is suited to UP but not for pol­i­tics at a na­tional level. — Raghu­vansh Prasad Singh, RJD leader If they (SP-BSP) ne­glect Con­gress in UP, they may have to face loss as BJP may be able to gain from it. —Ji­tan Ram Man­jhi, HAM(S) chief

Ghu­lam Nabi Azad and Raj Bab­bar in Lucknow

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