As SP, BSP tie up, Cong to go it alone in all 80 seats in UP

LS POLLS Mayawati, Akhilesh closed chap­ter, says Cong

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Front Page - HT Correspondent let­[email protected]­dus­tan­ ■

LUCKNOW : The Congress on Sun­day an­nounced its de­ci­sion to con­test all 80 Ut­tar Pradesh seats in the up­com­ing Lok Sabha elec­tions and said it was will­ing to ac­com­mo­date sec­u­lar forces, a day af­ter the Sa­ma­jwadi Party (SP) and the Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party (BSP) said they were ty­ing up in the state with­out the Rahul Gandhi-led party in the fold.

SP pres­i­dent Akhilesh Ya­dav and BSP chief Mayawati on Satur­day de­clared an al­liance for the gen­eral elec­tions, in which each will con­test 38 seats in Ut­tar Pradesh, leav­ing two for smaller al­lies, and stay­ing away from the Gandhi fam­ily bas­tions of Ame­thi and Rae Bareli.

Congress gen­eral sec­re­tary in-charge of Ut­tar Pradesh Ghu­lam Nabi Azad said his party was ready to take on board any sec­u­lar force that was ca­pa­ble of chal­leng­ing the rul­ing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He said the Congress pres­i­dent will hold at least 13 elec­tion cam­paign ral­lies in the state.

“We wanted the Congress to be 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,” Azad told re­porters af­ter a meet­ing of Congress lead­ers to dis­cuss the party’s strategy fol­low­ing the SP-BSP com­bine’s an­nounce­ment.

“The Congress will con­test on all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Ut­tar Pradesh and de­feat the BJP,” he 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,” Azad added.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elec­tions, the SP won five seats, while the BSP failed to win any. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got 71 seats and its ally Apna Dal two seats out of the to­tal 80.

The Congress won Rae Bareli and Ame­thi — held by United Pro­gres­sive Al­liance chair­per­son So­nia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. In the 2017 assem­bly polls, SP and BSP got 22% votes each while the BJP got 42.6% votes, win­ning 312 of the to­tal 403 seats.

The SP and BSP chose not to in­clude the Congress in their bat­tle against the BJP, say­ing that there is no real gain in align­ing with the party. “Congress party rule hasn’t ben­e­fit­ted any­one. There’s no real vote trans­fer from Congress and hence no real gain from align­ing with Congress,” Mayawati said.


■ Congress lead­ers Ghu­lam Nabi Azad (L) and Raj Bab­bar ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence in Lucknow on Sun­day.

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