SP mounts pressure on Cong, announces another list
In a fresh twist to the blow-hot-blow-cold relationship, the SP announced without consulting the Cong its second list of its candidates for 17 seats Uttar Pradesh for the parliamentary polls, report Srinand Jha and Pankaj Jaiswal.delhi Updated: Jan 11, 2009 01:02 IST
In a fresh twist to the blow-hot-blow-cold relationship, the Samajwadi Party (SP) on Saturday announced without consulting the Congress its second list of its candidates for 17 seats Uttar Pradesh for the parliamentary polls.
The SP also declared that Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt’s wife Manyata may contest from Lucknow if the actor is barred from contesting the elections. Dutt is currently on bail and was convicted for six years in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
Party general secretary Amar Singh announced the candidature of Dutt from Lucknow on Thursday, while announcing the first list of 29 candidates. Singh, while releasing the second list in Delhi on Saturday, said his party might also move the court for Dutt.
Singh maintained that the seats were “not contentious”, as the Congress had not put up a demand for them during the ongoing negotiations over seat sharing. With the Saturday list, the SP has declared its candidates for 46 of the 80 parliamentary seats in the state.
Although the announcement indicated that the SP-Congress alliance talks had indeed run into rough weather, Digvijay Singh, in charge of the state Congress, and UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi said the final decision would be taken by the party high command.
On the other hand, the SP made it clear that it could not wait. Amar Singh accused the middle-level Congress leaders of “insulting us” and blamed them for the strain between the two parties. He said the Congress “did not think twice” before admitting four SP legislators in Madhya Pradesh.
Another sore area for the SP has been the decision of the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan to take the support of six MLAs from Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
About Sanjay Dutt’s candidature Digvijay Singh said the Congress wanted discussions with the SP. And the party is unhappy that the SP announced candidates for Rampur (Jaya Prada), Phulpur and Barabanki seats, which it had laid claim to. While the Congress has been pressing for 40 seats, the SP is not willing to leave more than 22 to 25 seats to it.
Interestingly, SP’s Saturday list amplifies its unwillingness to side with the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). In an effort to put up a joint front against the BSP, the Congress had favoured an alliance that would include the RLD.
Now, with SP candidates in Amroha, Muzaffarnagar and Hathrus, the western UP constituencies where the RLD wields influence, it is evident that a strong anti-BSP alliance may not be possible.