Samajwadi Party, Congress Announce Alliance For Uttar Pradesh Elections: 10 Updates



At the press conference — addressed by state Congress chief Raj Babbar and Samajwadi Party’s state president Naresh Uttam Patel — Mr Patel said, “We will ensure that this alliance is successful. For the country’s development and integrity, we are united”.
State Congress chief Raj Babbar said, “Under Rahul Gandhi’s ideology of empowerment of youth and Akhilesh Yadav’s leadership, we have decided to form this alliance.”
Akhilesh Yadav, 43, did not reveal the Congress partnership as he announced the Samajwadi Party’s manifesto. Instead, as he exited the event, he shouted in response to a question from NDTV that “the alliance is on”.
In its third list, announced shortly after the press conference, the Samajwadi Party named candidates for 3 of 5 seats from Raebareli, and 2 of Amethi’s 5 seats. The seats are crucial for the Congress because they are the parliamentary constituencies of its top two leaders, Rahul and Sonia Gandhi.
Akhilesh Yadav’s father, Mulayam Singh, was not present on a stage that had posters of both men in leadership roles. Days ago, Akhilesh Yadav trumped Mulayam Singh to win the rights to use their party’s name and symbol.
Till then, Mulayam Singh was unyielding on wanting to run the party and control decisions for the election including the crucial aspect of selecting candidates. He has now been made (read relegated to) party mentor.
The Congress and Akhilesh Yadav began the week by proclaiming their alliance was all but announced. Akhilesh Yadav stung the Congress by announcing a list of nearly 200 candidates, including some for seats currently held by the Congress. What enraged the Congress, however, was the Samajwadi Party signalling that it would not surrender the seven of 10 seats it has in Amethi and Rae Bareli.
Though the Congress has only two seats in the neighbouring precincts, they are the traditional stronghold of the Gandhi family. So the Congress being assigned a minority of seats here is seen as an affront to the Gandhis and a public acknowledgement to voters that the party is in decline.
But that is the case, the Samajwadi Party said, pointing out that in the last state election, the Congress won just 28 of 403 constituencies. Negotiations continued till 4 am because both sides, despite their posturing, believe that a combined front against the BJP will deliver better dividends especially by consolidating the important Muslim vote.
The Congress after a series of electoral losses is politically attenuated. And Akhilesh Yadav is contending with anti-incumbency against a campaign that will be led for the BJP by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


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