Left-out Cong vows to contest in all UP seats
lucknow — Left out of the SP-BSP pre-poll tie-up in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress on Sunday announced that it would go it alone in all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the upcoming general election but insisted that its doors were open for secular parties willing to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party.
After a brainstorming session with senior party leaders, Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, said: The Congress will contest in all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh and defeat the BJP.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Replying 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.”
“We had earlier also said that we are ready to walk with every party that wants to defeat the BJP. But we can’t force anyone. They have (SPBSP) closed this chapter, so we will continue this fight to defeat the BJP on our own,” he said.
“For the last 3-4 years we have been talking about secular parties joining hands against the BJP. Some of them like N. Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP (Telugu Desam Party) has come on its own. So whether we are talking with some parties for an alliance or not, that is not something to be informed in a press conference,” said Azad, on being asked if the Congress was in talks with other parties for stictching a grand alliance in the Lok Sabha polls.
Azad on Sunday accused the BJP of dividing the country for power and claimed that the saffron party had failed to fulfil any of its poll promises. “The coming Lok Sabha election is a battle to unite India and safeguard the democratic values,” he said.
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra 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
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
Ghulam Nabi Azad,
senior Congress leader
Rallies Rahul Gandhi will hold in Uttar Pradesh for LS polls
going for a probe does not mean that the scam has not been committed.”
Stating that the Congress had always put the country before everything else, he cited the examples of the party sacrificing power in Jammu and Kashmir to strengthen Sheikh Abdullah and how it had sacrificed power to put an end to terrorism in Mizoram.
“The Congress has been fighting for the rights of the poor, farmers, backward castes and Dalits since even before Independence and after Independence, it is following the same ideology,” he said.
On the possibilities of an alliance with the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Azad said he would not like to speak to the media about it.—
Ghulam Nabi Azad speaks as UP Congress chief Raj Babbar looks on during a press conference in Lucknow on Sunday. —