Akhilesh’s SP clinches poll pact with Congress
The ruling Samajwadi party and Congress will jointly take on the BJP, BSP and other parties in India’s most populous and politically significant state. Akhilesh Yadav said on Tuesday that a decision on tying up with the Congress would be taken in a “day or two”.
“Decision on alliance (with Congress) will be taken in a day or two,” he said, buoyed by the Election Commission’s order recognising him as the President of Samajwadi Party and allowing him to retain the ‘bicycle’ symbol.
He was responding to a question on the possibility of tying up with Congress to crush communal politics during an informal chat with mediapersons at his residence here. SP general secretary Ramgopal Yadav, a close aide of Akhilesh, expressed hope of a grand secular alliance to fight elections in the state.
Ramgopal said the final decision regarding forging an alliance with Congress will be taken by Akhilesh, but he expressed hopes that it will happen. It is Akhilesh Yadav who will decide on the alliance.
Giving enough indications that Congress was willing for such a tie-up, its spokesman and former Union minister RPN Singh was among the first to hail the EC order, saying it showed that Akhilesh enjoyed “90 per cent support” in the organisation as also among SP legislators.
With the poll process set in motion after the issue of notification on Tuesday, hectic efforts are underway to hammer out such an alliance, with Congress being offered 90 to 100 seats by the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party, which is also trying to rope in Ajit Singh’s RLD as a junior partner.
Congress General Secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ramgopal Yadav from SP were said to be resolving some disputes over certain seats.
Uttar Pradesh has 403 Assembly constituencies where Akhilesh’s party would be contesting the majority of seats and was likely to have RLD as a junior partner in Western Uttar Pradesh, which was once a stronghold of Ajit Singh. The three parties will have to race against time to finalise the seat arrangements in the next few days as western Uttar Pradesh, where Ajit Singh enjoys some influence, goes to polls in the first two phases on February 11 and 15.
Samajwadi Party sources said the list of its party candidates will be released in a day or two. There were reports that the three parties would come out with a common minimum programme.
Having bagged the ‘bicycle’ symbol, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday said he would take Mulayam Singh Yadav along, describing the ties with his father and the SP founder as “unbreakable”.
After Akhilesh met his Mulayam at the latter’s residence, his second meeting after getting the bicycle symbol, Mulayam appeared to have softened his stand but his camp chose to avoid the media.
However, treading with caution, Akhilesh camp has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court in case the EC’s decision is challenged there. During the father-son meeting, Mulayam reportedly asked Akhilesh to retain about 40 candidates selected by his camp.
“Over 90 per cent candidates in both the lists are common. We will finalise the list of candidates soon,” Akhilesh told reporters during an informal chat at his Kalidas Marg residence.
Nuts & Bolts
- The SP is expected keep with itself a lion's share of well over 250 seats. Congress may get around 90-100 seats
- Akhilesh says Mulayam still face of party
- Akhilesh camp moves caveat in SC
- Mulayam asks Akhilesh to retain 40 candidates selected by his camp