Cong says SP-BSP snub a boon, will con­test all 80 seats in UP

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

Lucknow: A day after it was dumped by the SP-BSP al­liance, Con­gress an­nounced on Sun­day it would con­test all 80 Lok Sabha seats in Ut­tar Pradesh, while keep­ing doors open for “like-minded and sec­u­lar forces” to take on BJP.

“Not be­ing part of the al­liance is good in a way. Had we been part of the gath­band­han, we would have con­tested on 20- odd seats. Now, we will con­test all 80,” said Ghu­lam Nabi Azad, Con­gress gen­eral sec­re­tary and in-charge for UP, while drop­ping broad hints that the Ajit Singh-led RLD, which was also snubbed by the SPBSP com­bine, was wel­come.

At the joint press con­fer­ence on Satur­day, SP pres­i­dent Akhilesh Ya­dav and BSP chief Mayawati had an­nounced that no can­di­date of the gath- UP

CM Yogi Adityanath on Sun­day tried to drive a wedge be­tween SP and BSP by re­call­ing their frac­tious past and high­light­ing the rift in the Ya­dav fam­ily. “In the last LS polls, Akhilesh wanted his fa­ther to be the PM. Who is he pro­ject­ing this time as PM, Mu­layam or Mayawati?” Yogi said. “It is not clear if Mu­layamji would even get an SP ticket this time.” bandhan would be fielded in Rae Bareli and Ame­thi, the pocket bor­oughs of Con­gress’s So­nia and Rahul Gandhi, re­spec­tively. They had skirted any men­tion of RLD chief Ajit Singh, while leav­ing just two seats for other al­lies.

Azad said the de­ci­sion to keep Con­gress out of the SPBSP al­liance would have no im­pact on the party’s fight against BJP-RSS. “We are Dalit

out­fit Bhim Army is sup­port­ing the SP-BSP com­bine in UP, ac­cord­ing to its its chief, Chan­drashekhar Azad. “We will do hard work to stop BJP from com­ing to power in the 2019 elec­tions,” Azad said on Sun­day. “This al­liance is a de­mand of the time. We will make this it stronger,” he said at a rally in Muzaffarnagar.

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com­pe­tent, bat­tle-ready and would cam­paign against di­vi­sive forces. We are ready to ac­com­mo­date any sec­u­lar party,” Azad said. He hinted that Con­gress was open to seat­shar­ing with RLD, an es­tranged ally which con­tested with the grand old party in the 2014 LS polls. “We will wel­come any party ready to join us against BJP,” Azad said in re­ply to a query on a tie-up with RLD.

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