SP-Congress alliance: A call that broke the ice - Hindustan Times

SP-Congress alliance: A call that broke the ice

Feb 22, 2024 04:59 AM IST

The Samajwadi Party has agreed to allocate 17 Lok Sabha seats to the grand old party in Uttar Pradesh.

LUCKNOW: All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Priyanka Gandhi spoke to Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday morning to facilitate a breakthrough between the two parties and to finalise the seat-sharing agreement. The Samajwadi Party has agreed to allocate 17 Lok Sabha seats to the grand old party in Uttar Pradesh.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (Sourced)
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (Sourced)

Those aware of the development said both Priyanka Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav held a long discussion on seat-sharing over phone and the AICC general secretary persuaded the SP chief to leave 17 seats that the Congress wanted to contest from.

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“Yes, initially the SP offered seats where the Congress did not have a strong base. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra persuaded the SP chief to leave Amroha and Barabanki in exchange for Jalaun and Baghpat Lok Sabha seats that the SP was allocating to the grand old party. The Congress has emphasised that it’s not about having more seats to contest, but rather about the winnability of seats,” said a senior Congress leader, requesting anonymity.

After Samajwadi Party’s categorical message to the Congress to accept the party’s final offer of 17 seats things began moving in Congress that otherwise was busy with Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. Besides discussions within the seat-sharing committee, leaders from both parties engaged in dialogue at various levels. Senior Congress leaders including members of the committee got in touch with their Samajwadi Party, including chief general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav and MLC Udaivir Singh, to find a feasible solution. “We presented the committee’s recommendations to the party leadership, and all the finer points were thoroughly discussed at the highest level,” said former Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Salman Khursheed.

Speaking to media persons, AICC general secretary Avinash Pandey expressed his gratitude to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for playing an important role in shaping the alliance. “We are grateful to Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for working with dedication and resolve to bring all the forces together to defeat the BJP,” he said.

The Congress is also making its case for Lakhimpur Kheri and Shravasti seats and leaders of both the parties may soon take a call on the issue. “A decision on this will be taken not in respect to sharing of seats but in the interest of alliance in Lok Sabha elections,” said Pandey.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, initially considering joining Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Rae Bareli or Amethi, refrained from doing so due to the lack of progress in seat-sharing talks. However, Yadav is now expected to join the yatra in Agra when it resumes its journey from Moradabad.

It’s worth mentioning that both the SP and the Congress formed an alliance in the 2017 UP assembly elections as well. They jointly campaigned with the slogan ‘UP ko ye saath pasand hai’ (UP likes this alliance). However, the alliance was unsuccessful, and the Congress only secured seven legislative assembly seats, while the Samajwadi Party won 47 seats.

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    Umesh Raghuvanshi is a journalist with over three decade experience. He covers politics, finance, environment and social issues. He has covered all assembly and parliament elections in Uttar Pradesh since 1984.


    Pankaj Jaiswal is Chief of Bureau, Uttar Pradesh and covers politics. His continued interest in rural, distress, and development journalism, fetched him a handful of prestigious awards and fellowships. Pankaj is a photo-journalist too and tweets at @augustus29lotus

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