Congress part of alliance, says Akhilesh Yadav; sparks buzz about nuanced shift
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has said the Congress is part of the opposition alliance that his party has stitched in Uttar Pradesh against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition for the upcoming Lok Sabha election. He said two seats were given to the Congress in the alliance.
“The SP and BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) are in alliance. Other parties are also part of the alliance. These parties have been allocated seats in the alliance. The SP and the BSP have kept them (the Congress) in the alliance. They have been given two seats,” Akhilesh Yadav said at a press conference in Lucknow on Tuesday.
This is not the first time that Akhilesh Yadav has talked about alliance with the Congress for the Lok Sabha elections. On Monday, he had said the Congress was very much part of the alliance’s consideration. His remark came in the backdrop of a roadshow organised by the Congress on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s first visit to the state after her appointment as the party general secretary in-charge of eastern UP. Priyanka Gandhi was accompanied during the roadshow by party president Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, the other general secretary in-charge for Uttar Pradesh,
Akhilesh Yadav said, “The SP’s alliance is not only with the BSP but the Congress is also a part of it.” He went on to include the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which he said, has been given three seats in the Lok Sabha polls, the Nishad Party and the Peace Party in the alliance. He said the alliance will have different seat sharing formulae for the Lok Sabha and the next UP assembly elections.
He, however, did not speak about the number of seats that the SP-BSP “gave” to the Congress as part of the alliance in the state. He emphasised “the sacrifice” made by both the SP and the BSP for the Lok Sabha polls. “The SP and BSP sacrificed 40 seats each in Uttar Pradesh,” Akhilesh Yadav said.
The Congress, on the other hand, has decided to go full throttle in Uttar Pradesh. Party president Rahul Gandhi said the Congress will contest all 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh indicating that the “part of the alliance” talk by Akhilesh Yadav was not a consideration for the grand old party.
Gandhi also set an ambitious target for the Congress party to form a government on its own in the next state assembly election. He had earlier said reviving the Congress party in the most populous state was a “task” that Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia have to accomplish.
Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati announced their electoral arrangement in January stating that the parties would contest 38 parliamentary seats each in the state. UP sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha. They had announced not to put up candidates at Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Lok Sabha constituencies represented by Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi respectively.
At the time of announcing the SP-BSP alliance, Mayawati had criticised the Congress saying that the party is “no different” from the BJP. She said all sections of people are “unhappy” with both these parties.
Akhilesh Yadav, who had joined hands with Rahul Gandhi for the UP assembly election last year, had later said the Congress was kept out of the SP-BSP alliance due to “poll arithmetic” with the aim of defeating the BJP in the parliamentary polls.