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Cong ties knot with NCP, breaks up with SP

india Updated: Mar 04, 2009 23:33 IST
Cong ties knot with NCP

It was thumbs up in Maharashtra, thumbs down in Uttar Pradesh.

After many an anxious moment, the Congress alliance with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra appeared to have been worked out, while that with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh collapsed.

Differences over the nominations of four people — two former SP heavyweights who had parted on bitter terms and joined the Congress, a begum and a rani — led to the talks falling through, with the Congress announcing nominees for 24 of UP’s 80 seats.

The SP had already unilaterally announced the names of candidates from 64 seats.

This means at least eight seats are bound to be contested by both parties.

Congress sources said the party would also release a second list, and end up contesting around 50 seats.

The Congress reportedly refused to compromise on the Gonda, Fatehpur Sikri, Rampur and Pratapgarh seats. The first had been promised to Beni Prasad Verma — one of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s closest aides until Amar Singh arrived and marginalised him, leading Verma to quit and join the Congress.

The second was assured to film star Raj Babbar who again had a public falling out with the SP. Rampur was the third contentious seat — which the erstwhile begum of Rampur, Noor Bano, desired.

The fourth seat was Pratapgarh, where the Congress refused to withdraw its chosen nominee Ratna Singh, belonging to the Raja of Pratapgarh’s family.

“We are grateful to the SP for supporting us in the trust vote,” said Digvijay Singh, Congress general secretary in charge of UP. “But they have to take into account our aspirations as well.”

In contrast, four rounds of negotiations between the Congress and NCP did yield results in Maharashtra, with the Congress finally agreeing to set aside 23 of the 48 seats for the NCP, against the 21 it had done last time.

The two parties have reached an agreement on 41 nominees already. “Talks are on and the issue will be resolved,” NCP spokesman DP Tripathi said.