Uttar Pradesh: SP-Congress alliance runs into rough weather 

Confusion prevailed in Lucknow on Friday with Samajwadi Party leaders speaking in different voices on the possible pre-poll alliance with the Congress party

Photo by Ashok Dutta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Ashok Dutta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Biswajeet Banerjee

Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance, which appeared to have been all sealed on Thursday evening, ran into rough weather on Friday with Samajwadi Party unilaterally announcing a list of 191 candidates, which included constituencies where Congress candidates had won in 2012.

The constituencies listed will go to polls in the first three phases. Both Kiranmoy Nanda and Congress leaders added to the confusion, however, by hinting that talks were still on.

In a hurriedly called press conference SP national vice president Kiranmoy Nanda said on Friday that SP was ready to give around 85 seats to Congress which would include the 54 seats which Congress had either won or where it came second in the last assembly election.

"The SP will contest in over 300 seats if the alliance takes place. But if we are forced to go alone we have our list of 403 candidates ready," he said in a clear message that SP would be calling the shots during the negotiation.

Significantly Nanda went on to say, "I am not saying that doors are closed to the Congress. We have made it clear that SP would spare around 85 seats for Congress," he said adding that SP is not taking to RLD for alliance.

In the first three phases where polling will begin on February 11, Congress has eight sitting seats and SP announced names of candidates for all these seats.

SP named Ashok Agarwal from Mathura seat which is represented by Congress legislature party leader Pradeep Mathur while Manish Choudhury was named for the the Shamli seat represented by Congress legislator Pankaj Choudhury.

Similarly in Kanpur's Kidwainagar constituency, Nanda named Om Prakash Mishra as the SP candidate where Congress Ajay Kapoor is the sitting MLA. Nanda’s list also included Rampur's Bilaspur seat, where SP has fielded Ms Beena Bharadwaj whereas Sanjay Kapoor of the Congress had won the last election.

Curiously, Nanda clarified that if Congress and SP did forge an alliance, these candidates would be withdrawn by SP, indicating that talks were still continuing.

The list has a few surprises too. The list names the chief minister’s uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav from his traditional seat of Jaswant Nagar. But former Union minister and present SP Rajya Sabha member Beni Prasad Verma's son Rakesh was denied ticket from Ramnagar seat in Barabanki district.

Mulayam Singh Yadav had earlier given ticket to Rakesh by denying the seat to state minister Arvind Singh Gope but now in Nanda’s list, which obviously has the blessings of Akhilesh Yadav, Gope gets the ticket in place of Rakesh.

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