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Congress begins talks in UP, climbs down to 15 seats demand

Even as the Congress has begun declaring candidates for Uttar Pradesh seats, it’s back-channelled talks with UP alliance to find a place in it continues.

lucknow Updated: Mar 08, 2019 18:13 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal
Pankaj Jaiswal
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Congress,Uttar Pradesh,Deal
Congress emissaries are in talks with top alliance leaders to broker a deal, according to a senior Samajwadi Party leader.

Even as the Congress has begun declaring candidates for Uttar Pradesh seats, it’s back-channelled talks with UP alliance to find a place in it continues, according to leaders familiar with the developments.

A senior Samajwadi Party leader said Congress emissaries are in talks with top alliance leaders to broker a deal. “The alliance is willing to give the Congress ten seats including the two--Rae Bareli and Amethi--on which the alliance has already declared that it won’t field any candidate. However, Congress wants between 20 to 15 seats. Originally, Congress wanted 20. So as of now, things are far from final,” said a source familiar with the developments.

After the announcement of an alliance between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Congress leaders had announced that it would contest all 80 UP seats.

However, the possibility of the Congress joining the UP alliance is not a closed chapter yet. The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has already joined the alliance.

Mayawati and Akhilesh began talking about the possibility of an alliance between the SP and the BSP in March last year and finally announced it on January 12.

On February 21, the two parties also announced the details of seat-sharing according to which BSP will contest 38 seats while SP will field candidates on 37.

Akhilesh had allied with the Congress for 2017 UP assembly elections but when asked about the possibilities of an alliance with the Congress for 2019 polls, he said they were friends.

At announcing the SP-BSP alliance on January 12, Mayawati had even given the reason for the exclusion of the Congress.

“In an alliance with the Congress, our votes get transferred to them but their votes don’t come to alliance partners. So, they benefit, we don’t,” she had said.

But now, after the airstrike in PoK, the alliance is open to the idea of taking the Congress on board, said the source.

Akhiesh Yadav early this week when asked if the alliance has agreed to give 9 to 10 seats to Congress said: “The Congress is party of the alliance, we have given them two seats”.

A political analyst, Prof SK Dwivedi said: “SP-BSP-RLD combine is a step in the right direction if the opposition want to take on the BJP, and the opposition will turn united if Congress also joins it.” Dwivedi is former head of the department of political science, Lucknow University.

First Published: Mar 08, 2019 18:13 IST