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Congress adopts wait and watch policy on alliance for 2019

The Congress appears to be adopting a wait and watch policy on the issue of a likely alliance with the major opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal, in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

lucknow Updated: Jun 12, 2018 15:18 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Congress,Alliance,Uttar Pradesh
A senior Congress leader said the party will keep an eye on the possible alliance between the SP and the BSP.(HT)

The Congress appears to be adopting a wait and watch policy on the issue of a likely alliance with the major opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal, in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

A senior Congress leader said the party will keep an eye on the possible alliance between the SP and the BSP.

“The Congress will come into the picture only once the SP and BSP decide to come close. The Congress will align only if it gets a respectable number of seats,” said the leader.

But, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Raj Babbar said he was not aware of any developments on an alliance.

“We have no information on any talks about an alliance. The Congress high command has also not given us any instructions about any alliance,” he said.

After the SP-Congress alliance failed to make an impact in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, a section of partymen has opposed any understanding with the SP. Instead, they favour an alliance with the BSP. The SP and BSP had joined hands for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha by-elections and the Congress was not taken into confidence.

“The Congress was not left with any option as the SP and the BSP announced their understanding after the last date for withdrawal of nominations in Gorakhpur and Phulpur. Yet, the Congress favoured united opposition candidates in by-election to the Kairana Lok Sabha and the Nooorpur assembly seats. The party will like major opposition parties to join hands ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. For that, the SP and BSP have to reach an understanding and offer a respectable number of seats to other parties,” the leader said.

“A formal announcement may not have been made about fielding joint candidates in Kairana and Noorpur, but the Congress decided to extend support in the interest of opposition unity to defeat the BJP. Senior Congress leader Imran Masood actively campaigned for the Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate in Kairana,” said the leader.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s statement that “the entire opposition is getting together in six months to a year” in New Delhi has raised hopes of like-minded parties coming together. Senior party leaders have also indicated state- specific alliances and a grand alliance at national level.

“Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi have very good relations. BSP chief Mayawati will also not like to displease the Congress that will be a larger partner at the national level. So, the SP and BSP will have to take the Congress and RLD along if they want to pose a real challenge to the BJP. We hope something will work out in coming months,” said another leader.

“Opposition unity will be put to test when these parties begin discussing seat-sharing for 2019 polls,” he said.

First Published: Jun 12, 2018 15:18 IST