New Delhi: Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday remarked that Congress is very much a part of the Mahagathbandhan and will contest the Lok Sabha election from two seats in Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing a joint press conference with Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD) Jayant Chaudhary and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leaders, a seemingly vexed Yadav retorted to a reporter’s question, “Congress is with us, it is a part of our alliance. Why do you repeatedly ask if Congress will come with us or not? I have said before also that Congress is part of Mahagatbandhan, they will contest on two seats in our alliance.”
The two seats referred here are Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Lok Sabha constituencies of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi respectively.
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At the same event, RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary announced its party’s formal entry into the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party pre-poll seat sharing alliance.
Akhilesh Yadav’s comment comes days after reports emerged that an ‘elbowed out Congress’ is trying to woo regional players and is open to ‘secular forces’.
Most of the small regional parties are based in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, where the Congress recently appointed Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as its secretary in-charge. So far, the Congress has signed a pre-poll pact with Mahan Dal from western Uttar Pradesh, under its secretary in-charge Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Not only parties, Congress is also reaching out to independent leaders- on Saturday, Bahraich MP Savitri Bai Phule, who quit BJP after deeming it ‘anti-Dalit’, joined the Congress. Earlier, BJP MLA and Gujjar leader Avtar Singh Badhana also crossed over to the Grand Old Party side.
The SP will not contest 37 seats in Uttar Pradesh, while the BSP will contest from 38. UP, the most crucial state in the election, sends 80 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha.