27/10/2016 7:18 PM IST | Updated 27/10/2016 9:02 PM IST

Congress Not Keen On Any Grand Alliance In Poll-Bound UP

Congress holds SP, BSP and BJP "squarely responsible" for shifting focus from development to politics of division

Anindito Mukherjee / Reuters

Congress today virtually ruled out any grand alliance in poll bound Uttar Pradesh including with Samajwadi Party insisting that Rahul Gandhi wanted to set things right in the state which is in bad shape for past 27 years in non-Congress rule.

"Our stand is more than clear..We have been saying '27 saal, UP behal'. Rahul Gandhi's yatra .....is not founded on lust for power but to bring new paradigm of politics in the state", Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala told reporters here.

He said that the Congress has been holding the SP, BSP and BJP "squarely responsible" for shifting focus from the issue of development through politics of division of different kind.

When told that Rahul Gandhi had described UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as a "good guy", he said that the Congress Vice President has no personal enmity with any leader and that politics cannot be founded on likes and dislikes of individuals.

Surjewala's remarks are significant as they came in the backdrop of reports that only yesterday 17 Congress MLAs from the state had a meeting with Rahul Gandhi in which they conveyed to him that he should look at forming an alliance with "secular forces" to fight the assembly elections.

He also discounted suggestions that JD-U leader Sharad Yadav's meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi two days back and with party General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad today was indicative of a grand alliance. Yadav had also met UP SP chief Shivpal Yadav yesterday.

Noting that the Congress has an alliance with the JD-U in Bihar, he said that it would be wrong to interpret the meetings in any other way.

To a specific question whether he was ruling out Congress tying up with any party in Uttar Pradesh in future, he said how could he say what would happen six months from now.

Interestingly, Samajwadi Party s UP president Shivpal Yadav had yesterday hinted at a tie-up with the RLD and Congress to stop "communal forces" in the Assembly polls scheduled early next year.

BSP is reluctant to go for any alliance and the possible options put forward by most of the MLAs were the RLD and SP, an unnamed MLA was quoted as saying after the meeting with Gandhi.