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