Lucknow: A day after Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahuja Samaj Party (BSP) announced their alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Congress on Sunday said it will contest all the 80 seats of the state.
“We will fight on all 80 seats of Uttar Pradesh in upcoming Lok Sabha elections. We are fully prepared. And just like Congress emerged no. 1 party in Uttar Pradesh in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, we’ll fight on our own and win twice those number of seats in upcoming elections,” said senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The decision came after senior Congress leaders, including Azad and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar, held a brainstorming meeting at the party’s state headquarters in Lucknow.
Asked to comment on the tie-up announced by BSP chief Mayawati and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, Azad said now that the “chapter” is closed, the party will fight for defeating BJP on its own.
“We didn’t break this alliance, public should know that. We had earlier also said that we’re ready to walk with every party that wants to defeat BJP. But we can’t force anyone. They’ve (SP-BSP) closed this chapter, so we’ll continue this fight for defeating BJP on our own,” he said.
He further said that the Congress is ready for alliance with any “secular party” which is “competent” to fight the BJP. “If any secular party competent to fight the BJP, willing to go with us, we will accommodate them,” he said.
Once arch-rivals Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party announced Saturday their tie-up in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, sharing 38 seats each and keeping the Congress out of the alliance.
The parties, however, said they would not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
They also left two seats out of the 80 in the state for smaller allies, without naming them. But there have been talks with Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal.
Explaining why the Congress was not included in the alliance, Mayawati said during that party’s rule over the years, poverty, unemployment and corruption grew and there were scams in defence deals.
“Just as the Bofors scam uprooted the Congress, the BJP will witness the same fate because of its involvement in the Rafale scam,” she said, referring to the graft allegations against the ruling party in a deal for French military aircraft.
She also said her party has not benefitted in seat-sharing pacts with the Congress.
“In the past I have seen that our votes get transferred to the Congress, but not vice-versa. We do not gain from an alliance with the Congress, whereas the vote transfer is perfect in an SP-BSP tie-up,” Mayawati said.
Drawing a parallel between the BJP and the Congress, the BSP chief said the Congress had imposed Emergency while the BJP is responsible for an undeclared Emergency.