With an aim to rope in big names, the Congress has started spreading its wings by focusing on the candidates from other parties who can win seats for them in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Sources said that the Congress leadership has given an approval to look for turncoats or the small caste-based parties who have considerable influence in smaller pockets and are willing to join hands with Congress.
“There is bound to be a turmoil in Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party after the two entered into an alliance. After Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati announced the seats, leaders who have been denied ticket because of alliance have started looking for other political options. Many of the senior BSP and SP leaders, who were MPs and ministers in Akhilesh Government, have approached us. These names have been sent to party leadership,” the Congress source said adding Congress is the first choice of such leaders.
The beginning was made when senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Ram Lal Rahi joined Congress along with sitting BJP MLA Awtar Singh Bhadana. This was followed by disgruntled Bahraich BJP MP Savitri Bai Phule, former Sitapur BSP MP Qaisar Jahan and Rakesh Sachan joining the Congress. All those joining have been approved by Priyanka Gandhi, the in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh because leaders met her in Delhi before the joining was made public.
Besides, Mahaan Dal and Peace Party have already announced joining hands with the Congress for the 2019 elections
Sources said that party leaders are also in touch with Anupriya Patel, whose party Apna Dal, is an ally of NDA and might contest 2019 election as an Congress ally. Another big catch could be Anand Ratan Maurya, a three time MP from Chandauli who resigned from the party on Tuesday.
All these leaders have been given an assurance that they would be given ticket for the 2019 Lk Sabha elections. There are reports suggesting that Congress wants to contest anything between 60 to 65 seats while the rest it wants to leave for alliance partners or turncoats who have joined or would be joining Congress.
“The main aim of the Congress is to win 30 seats in 2019 and build the party for 2022 assembly election. Party’s president Rahul Gandhi had made it clear that from now on we will contest on front foot and that’s what party workers are doing now,” the Congress source said.