After SP-BSP snub, Cong to go it alone in all 80 UP seats

Grand old party fi­nalises pro­gramme for Rahul Gandhi’s 12 pub­lic meet­ings to be­gin from Lucknow in Fe­bru­ary

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Front Page - Umesh Raghu­van­shi uraghu­van­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ▪

LUCKNOW: A day after Sa­ma­jwadi Party and Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party firmed up a poll al­liance, leav­ing the Con­gress out, the grand old party de­clared that it will con­test all the 80 Ut­tar Pradesh seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elec­tions.

“We al­ways wanted to take along all sec­u­lar par­ties. We can­not be blamed for break­ing the al­liance of sec­u­lar forces. We will con­test all 80 Lok Sabha seats un­der Rahul Gandhi’s lead­er­ship and de­feat the BJP,” said Con­gress gen­eral sec­re­tary (in charge of UP) Ghu­lam Nabi Azad while speak­ing to me­dia per­sons here on Sun­day.

The Con­gress leader blamed SP and BSP for not tak­ing sec­u­lar par­ties along and said the peo­ple should know who had parted ways.

On Satur­day, BSP chief Mayawati and SP pres­i­dent Akhilesh Ya­dav an­nounced their par­ties would con­test 38 seats each and leave two seats – Ame­thi and Rae Bareli -- for the Con­gress.

Mayawati said her party never gained from an al­liance with Con­gress and held the grand old party re­spon­si­ble for the plight of Dal­its and back­ward castes. “We did not break the al­liance (2017 al­liance with SP). The peo­ple of the state and coun­try should know that. We wanted to take ev­ery­body along to de­feat the BJP. But we can’t force any­one…They’ve (SP-BSP) closed

this chap­ter…. We will fight the BJP on our own….This will be a fight be­tween Con­gress and BJP. We will take along any sec­u­lar party that wants to come along. If not triple, we will win dou­ble the num­ber of seats won in 2009,” said Azad. The Con­gress had won 21 seats in 2009 and its to­tal num­ber reached 22 after a

by-poll then.

On whether Con­gress would re­cip­ro­cate SP-BSP ges­ture of leav­ing two seats, Azad said noth­ing could be said at this stage as the party was yet to know whether the lead­ers of these par­ties would con­test the polls and from where.

Azad said the Con­gress was ready for polls and he him­self had ad­dressed a num­ber of prepara­tory meet­ings. He also ad­dressed party men in groups and called upon them to stop in­fight­ing and gear up and rise to the oc­ca­sion and win the polls.

“Strengthen the party, fight, win and show we can win,” said Azad while speak­ing about his party’s work for pub­lic cause over the years.

Con­gress has fi­nalised an elab­o­rate pro­gramme for party pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi’s nearly 12 pub­lic meet­ings in the state in Fe­bru­ary. The meet­ings are likely to be­gin from Lucknow. Azad has dis­cussed the prepa­ra­tions for Rahul’s pro­grammes at party meet­ings.

After SP and BSP an­nounced their al­liance on Satur­day, Rahul said in Dubai that his party would fight the elec­tions in the state alone with its “full ca­pac­ity”. “BSP and SP have made a po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sion. It’s on us on how to strengthen the Con­gress in Ut­tar Pradesh and we will fight with our full ca­pac­ity,” Rahul had said at a press con­fer­ence.

Azad said for­mer Prime Min­is­ter VP Singh (Janata Dal) won the polls and be­came Prime Min­is­ter on the Bo­fors is­sue in 1989. Singh and many oth­ers, in­clud­ing BJP gov­ern­ments, have not been able to prove the ac­cu­sa­tions and get any­one ar­rested,” he said.

Azad added that a num­ber of scams have taken place dur­ing the ten­ure of BJP-led gov­ern­ments at the Cen­tre and in the states. “How­ever, no in­quiry has been con­ducted into these scams. No in­quiry does not mean no scam,” he said.

Mean­while, SK Dwivedi for­mer head of depart­ment, Lucknow Univer­sity, said: “SP, BSP and Con­gress should have come to­gether for larger im­pact of the al­liance. As SP-BSP al­liance and Con­gress will con­test the poll sep­a­rately, the non-BJP votes will be di­vided and may not have de­sired im­pact.”

HT

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

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