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Congress open to alliance with other parties in Rajasthan: Sachin Pilot

The Congress on Tuesday decided to begin alliance talks with other parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Sharad Yadav’s Loktantrik Janata Dal for the forthcoming Rajasthan assembly elections

jaipur Updated: Sep 26, 2018 06:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Congress,Sachin Pilot,Rajasthan
Congress is open to alliance with other parties in Rajasthan, says Sachin Pilot.(HT File Photo)

The Congress on Tuesday decided to begin alliance talks with other parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Sharad Yadav’s Loktantrik Janata Dal for the forthcoming Rajasthan assembly elections.

“Congress is approaching the elections with an open mind. We are open to alliances with like-minded parties at the state and national level but it should be practical and respectable. The decision will be taken by the party president,” said Sachin Pilot, state Congress president, after a meeting of party leaders in Delhi.

The meeting, attended by senior leaders such as Ashok Gehlot, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Avinash Pande, Ahmed Patel, AK Antony, Jairam Ramesh, Sachin Pilot and leader of opposition in Rajasthan assembly, Rameshwar Dudi, discussed the practicality, possibility and feasibility of alliance with other parties, Congress leaders said.

According to a leader, who participated in the meeting, the discussions revolved around having an alliance with other political parties that are opposing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) keeping in view the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“In the larger interest of the party, we can enter into an alliance with other parties. We are working out the number of seats which could be shared,” he said.

The leader said the BSP was asking for 8 to 10 seats, Loktantrik Janata Dal two and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) one.

“Political parties might ask for any number of seats but the decision will be taken keeping in mind the ground reality. The BSP has won the maximum of six seats in an election in Rajasthan. The party might consider give them (BSP) around five seats,” he said.

The Rajasthan Congress had shed its opposition to the alliance following intervention by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who believes that an alliance for assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh could help in stitching a bigger alliance against the BJP for 2019 general polls.

In July, the Rajasthan Congress was unwilling for an alliance with the BSP on the ground that it could have an adverse impact on party’s prospects in the long term. However, a Congress leader said the state unit agreed for an alliance as the BSP wanted the tie-up in all the three election bound states.

The BSP in Rajasthan won only two of the 195 seats it contested in 2013 and got 3.5% of the votes polled.

In 2008, the party had won six seats bagging 7.66% of the votes polled but the winners joined the Congress, which was short of the majority mark by four seats.

BSP state president Sitaram Meghwal said: “BSP in Rajasthan is working on contesting from all the 200 assembly seats and identifying winnable candidates. The decision over alliance will be taken by party president Mayawati.”

Commenting on the possibility of an alliance, BJP spokesperson Mukesh Pareek said the parties that are coming together against the BJP will not make any difference to the saffron party.

“People want PM Narendra Modi’s leadership at the Centre and chief minister Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan,” said Pareek.

Political analyst Narayan Bareth said, “I don’t think that an alliance with the BSP will be fruitful for Congress as they will lose their traditional schedule caste voters. Besides, BSP’s graph in Rajasthan has declined in past elections. Congress might look at alliance in view of 2019 Lok Sabha as they do not want to have any differences with BSP.”

First Published: Sep 26, 2018 06:16 IST