Left-out Cong vows to con­test in all UP seats

Khaleej Times - - INDIA - PTI, IANS

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

13

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.—

PTI

Ghu­lam Nabi Azad speaks as UP Congress chief Raj Bab­bar looks on dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Luc­know on Sun­day. —

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