Lucknow When Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav dropped hints that the Congress may be kept out of the Opposition’s alliance in UP, not many eyebrows were raised in the Congress, which allied with the SP in the 2017 assembly elections. In fact, leaders gave a feeling that not all is lost and a breakthrough could be made in days to come.“We are making efforts for an alliance and hope that an understanding will be reached ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” said Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Raj Babbar on Thursday.Senior party leader PL Punia too sounded optimistic. “We want to take everybody along to fight the BJP. This is why talks are being held on state to state basis to work out an alliance for the polls,” he said. But many others in party also saw no point in unnecessarily persuading the two parties for an alliance and want to take the parties like the Rashtriya Lok Dal etc. along instead if they were willing to come with the Congress. “The BSP and the SP worked against the Congress’s interest by deciding not to align with the Congress in polls in three states. The BSP and SP are free to take a decision in Lok Sabha polls too. We cannot say if they are under any pressure. People are, however, realising that only the Congress can defeat the BJP. The public mood is in favour of bringing the opposition parties together and no leader or party can defy the people,” said a senior Congress leader.Another party leader said the Congress leadership had not taken note of statements of SP and BSP leaders. “Serious discussions on the issue will only begin in new year. We are sure that the two parties will be ready to work out an alliance with the Congress,” said the leader adding, “In 2009 the Congress won 21 Lok Sabha seats on its own. Later after a by-poll victory, the number reached 22 Lok Seats. We are sure the SP and BSP will keep this mind when the talks begin for an alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha polls.”The SP and the BSP have been giving signals that the two parties are not interested in roping in the Congress for an alliance, ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.After losing 2017 assembly elections, both the SP and the Congress had maintained that the alliance between the two parties will continue for long. The SP and the BSP, however, had kept the Congress out of loop as two parties aligned with each other in by-elections to Gorakhpur and Phoolpur Lok Sabha seats.Later the SP kept the Congress out while reaching an understanding with the Rashtriya Lok Dal in by-election to Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly seats.But now the focus is shifting back to Congress following the BJP’s defeat in Chhatisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh assembly elections and the mood in the party camps is upbeat.The BSP and the SP’s stance in the recently held assembly polls had compelled the party leaders to deal with the two parties with “cautious optimism” amid hopes that the alliance may work out before 2019 Lok Sabha polls, said a Congress leader.