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Changing fortunes for Congress? Party leaders now want to fight Lok Sabha polls alone in UP

Senior Congress leaders believe that fighting the polls alone in Uttar Pradesh would give the party a chance to rebuilt itself from scratch and help galvanise the cadre

January 07, 2019 / 04:53 PM IST
Security persons pushing away electric cables above Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as they duck to avoid them during a road show in Lucknow on January 29, 2017. (PTI)

Security persons pushing away electric cables above Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as they duck to avoid them during a road show in Lucknow on January 29, 2017. (PTI)

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The Indian National Congress is keen to contesting the Lok Sabha elections alone in Uttar Pradesh at a time when Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are planning not to accommodate it in their pre-poll alliance, according to a report by the Hindustan Times.

After winning three ‘Hindi Heartlands’ states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Congress conducted an internal survey among its leaders in Uttar Pradesh to get a feedback on whether to join the opposition ‘Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance)’ in the state, the report adds.

The party asked all the senior leaders, sitting and former legislators and former Members of Parliament (MPs) to participate in the survey.

The report suggested that a majority of these leaders expressed reservations over Congress joining the SP-BSP alliance and wanted the party to contest alone in the parliamentary elections.

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Also read | SP, BSP agree on alliance for Lok Sabha polls: SP leader

A UP Congress leader told the newspaper that one of the arguments was that fielding candidates in all of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha constituencies would help galvanise the cadre.

The report cites the leader as adding that by going alone in the polls, “the organisation could be rebuilt from the scratch it had reached after the decimation in the 2017 assembly polls.”

Party leaders citing results of Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha by-elections from 2018, argued that “making the contest triangular will for sure hurt the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)”.

The SP had defeated the BJP in both bypolls while the Congress finished third.

Also read: Shivpal Yadav willing to join hands with Congress to defeat BJP in LS polls

Reports have suggested that the SP-BSP were not in favour of taking the Congress on board after their assessment that the latter’s votes were largely non-transferable and may shift to rival parties rather than towards an alliance partner.

The two parties would, at best, leave just the Rae Bareli and Amethi seats for the Congress. The two seats are constituencies of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, respectively.
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