POLITICS

Congress, Samajwadi Party Seal Their Alliance For UP Assembly Elections

Apparently Priyanka Gandhi intervened to end the deadlock.

22/01/2017 11:35 AM IST | Updated 22/01/2017 8:57 PM IST
Pawan Kumar / Reuters

NEW DELHI -- Putting all speculations to rest, the Congress and the Samajwadi Party on Sunday finally forged an alliance for the high-voltage Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

The Congress, which wanted to contest as many as 121 seats, has now settled for 105 seats. SP will contest 298 seats.

Samajwadi Party state President Naresh Uttam told the media at a hotel here that his party was entering into an alliance with Congress to fight "communal forces".

The two parties also intended to make Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav the Chief Minister again, he said.

Hailing the alliance as 'historic', Uttam said both parties will initiate a historic era by halting the BSP and BJP.

"We appeal to our party workers and the people of the state to side with us and give us our blessings and help Akhilesh Yadav ji become the chief minister of the state again," he added.

Raj Babbar on his part said the alliance will make a concerted effort towards strengthening secularism and goodwill in the society.

"This is most certainly a historical decision towards the development of the people of the state. The joint political and conceptual line of thought of the alliance will help defeat the polarising and divisive agenda of the BJP and the BSP," Babbar said.

"The active leadership of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and INC vice-president Rahul Gandhi will rise above the pettiness of religion and caste and will provide the people of the state with physical and financial security. It will also help strengthen social dignity of the people. The alliance will also make a superlative effort to empower the youth and the women of the state," he added.

Babbar also said he is hopeful of winning the trust of the people.

"If we are able to win the trust and faith of the people, which we are hopeful of, we will present an agenda of administration of our alliance within a week. This will make our government more efficient, transparent and accountable," he said.

Babbar also attacked the BJP government on the demonetisation of high-end currency notes and said they will do everything needed to negate the ill-effect of cash-shortage on the farmers.

"Demonetisation has wreaked havoc on the farmers and their income. At the same time, it has helped and saved corrupt officials. Our alliance will give special attention to the progress and prosperity of these farmers as they are largely responsible for the development of the country," he said.

Babbar added, "The people of UP have a golden opportunity to prove that they will not withstand any party which tries to destroy the social, economic and administrative threadbare of the Indian society."

The development comes after Congress general secretary Ahmed Patel said that Priyanka Gandhi intervened to end the ongoing deadlock over entering into an alliance to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the politically crucial state.

"Wrong to suggest lightweights were dealing on behalf of Congress party.Discussion was at highest level- b/w CM (UP),GS I/C & Priyanka Gandhi," he tweeted.

Eyeing a second term in office, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav yesterday said that his final offer was 100 seats for the Congress.

Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal yesterday said the possibility of an alliance was "almost over" and blamed the "stubborn" attitude of Congress for the deadlock.

"The Chief Minister (Akhilesh Yadav) had made an offer of 100 seats to the Congress, but they are asking for 120 seats. We told them that we have 234 sitting legislators and there are some others who will also contest. So, we need at least 300 seats for ourselves," Agarwal told ANI.

Akhilesh had earlier on Friday announced candidates for 209 constituencies, which will vote in the first two phases of the assembly polls. Interestingly, the constituencies included nine in western Uttar Pradesh which were won by the grand old party in the 2012 assembly polls.

The Samajwadi Party said to be the major partner in the alliance has so far argued that the Congress performed better only in 54 seats in Uttar Pradesh in the last polls.

Uttar Pradesh will vote in seven phases beginning February 11 and results will be announced on March 11.

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