In-charge of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad, while in transit at the Lucknow airport, spoke to HT on a wide range of issues including UP elections and alliance with the Samajwadi Party. Excerpts:
Q: Four phases of UP assembly elections are over and the fifth is round the corner. How is the SP-Congress alliance poised?
I am 100% sure and can say the wind is blowing in favour of the alliance.
Q: What is the basis of your confidence?
Past experiences, observations and feedback. Whenever and wherever alliance has taken place between two parties, coalitions have won. It has happened in Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.
Q: What do have to say on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s post-demonetisation victories in Chandigarh municipal election and now the Mumbai municipal polls?
It is really surprising. We need to go deep into the results and look how this happened. People are angry because of demonetisation. May be the Congress and the NCP did not take elections seriously. We need to look into it.
Q: Is it likely that the BMC results will have a bearing on the remaining three phases of UP elections?
No, not at all. Local bodies’ elections and assembly elections are different ball games. Local issues reflect in civic body elections while regional issues dominate in assembly polls.
Q: Is alliance with SP benefitting the Congress?
It is benefitting the Congress as well as the Samajwadi Party. I wonder what would have been the scenario had both the sides gone to polls individually. The alliance has an extra edge.
Q: If the alliance comes to power, what kind of share in ministerial berths the Congress will get in the assembly?
There are no ifs and buts. The alliance is coming to power. As of now, we have discussed elections and there have been no talks on positions after the polls. That will be decided after the victory.
Q: Is the alliance temporary?
It is for keeps.