Lok Sabha polls: INDIA allies SP, Congress to tie-up in UP, MP

Among the 17 seats which the Congress will contest in Uttar Pradesh are Raebareli, Amethi, and Varanasi

Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party has given 17 seats in UP to the Congress (photo: PTI)
Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party has given 17 seats in UP to the Congress (photo: PTI)


INDIA bloc partners SP and Congress on Wednesday announced a tie-up for the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, with UP's main opposition party leaving 17 out of the 80 seats in the state for the ally.

In Madhya Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party will contest on a single seat, Khajuraho, and support the Congress in the remaining constituencies in the state.

Among the 17 seats on which the Congress will contest in UP are Raebareli and Amethi, once considered pocket boroughs of the party, and Varanasi, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency.

The seat-sharing announcement was made at a joint press conference here by SP state chief Naresh Uttam Patel, SP national general secretary Rajendra Chaudhary, state Congress president Ajay Rai and AICC in-charge of UP Avinash Pande.

Pande said the Congress will contest on 17 seats, leaving the remaining 63 seats in the state to the SP and other alliance partners.

SP state president Patel said, "The Congress will contest on 17 seats in UP and on the rest of the 63 seats, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav will decide candidates."

Apart from Raebareli, Amethi and Varanasi, the other seats on which the Congress will be contesting include Kanpur City, Fatehpur Sikri, Basgaon, Saharanpur, Prayagraj (Allahabad), Maharajganj, Amroha, Jhansi, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Sitapur, Barabanki and Deoria, Patel said.

Sonia Gandhi is the sitting MP from Raebareli, while Rahul Gandhi lost his Amethi seat to BJP leader and Union minister Smriti Irani in the 2019 polls.

In Madhya Pradesh, the SP will contest the Khajuraho seat out of the state's total of 29 Lok Sabha seats, and support the Congress on the rest, Patel said.

He said senior leaders of both the parties will chalk out future programmes of the alliance.

Asked when Akhilesh Yadav will join Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, Patel said, "I hope he might join the yatra on February 24 or 25 as per his convenience."

Yadav had recently said that he would join the Nyay Yatra after the seat-sharing is finalised.

Congress leader Pande said party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra played a very important role in finalising this alliance.

Expressing his gratitude to Priyanka Gandhi for her efforts, Pande said she is trying to bring all the opposition parties together to defeat the BJP in UP.

In response to a question on the list of Congress candidates, Pande said that the party leadership will release it soon after discussion.

On party's candidates for Raebareli and Amethi seats, Pande said, "No decision has been taken in this regard yet," he said, adding these two seats are very close to the Gandhi family.

When asked whether there is still any problem on Shravasti and Kheri seats, Pande said, "There is no problem on any seat. Every seat has been finalised. In our next meetings, if something comes, the media will be informed."

On being asked whether his party will give seats to smaller parties like that of Chandrashekhar Azad, SP state chief Patel said the party national president will take a decision in this regard.

In 2019 parliamentary polls, the SP had an alliance with the BSP and won five seats, while the latter bagged 10 seats. The Congress had won only the Raebareli seat.

During recent assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, talks between the SP and Congress on seat sharing failed and both the parties contested separately. UP Congress leaders had said then that the INDIA bloc had been formed for Lok Sabha polls.

Following the announcement on seat-sharing, SP chief Yadav said the 'PDA' will defeat the BJP-led NDA in the upcoming polls. In a post on X, Yadav said, "Congratulations to all and best wishes for a harmonious alliance."

PDA is acronym coined by Yadav for backwards, dalits and minorities.

"To save the Constitution of Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar; to implement Lohia ji's principle of 'sankhyaupatik hissedari" (share proportional to numbers); to bring equality by activating socialist values; to ensure the rights of 90 per cent PDAs and for the progress of the country… let's unite," Yadav wrote in a post in Hindi.

Yadav hashtagged the posts "#PDA_haraega_NDA" (or "PDA will defeat NDA") and "#assi_harao_BJP_hatao" (defeat on 80, remove BJP).

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Published: 21 Feb 2024, 7:10 PM