- Congress at risk of being left out of opposition coalition in UP
- Salman Khurshid says party's concilliatory tone "not a sign of weakness"
- Party leader suggests Congress wont accept "single-digit seats"
The opposition deal for seat sharing in Uttar Pradesh is yet to be inked, but the Congress, in danger of being left out, appears ready to go it alone in the state. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, who are on verge of making a deal in the state, say the final decision is yet to be made. Both parties, however, have shown great reluctance to let the Congress be a part of the deal.
Sources in the Congress concede that crafting an alliance with the Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party will be "difficult". "We can't accept single-digit seats in Uttar Pradesh," a senior party leader told NDTV. There is also an apprehension that the party would be offered seats which would be not be acceptable.
Appearing to acknowledge the party's slim chances of making it to the high table, Salman Khurshid today tweeted: "UP Congress all set to battle. We were ready to work together with SP and BSP for greater good of the people. But our willingness to accommodate should not be taken to be weakness."
Last week, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav had met to finalise alliance in the state. There were reports that each party had agreed to contest on 37 seats. The rest of the state's 80 seats will go to smaller allies.
Asked if the Congress will be included in the alliance, senior BSP leader Satish Misra told NDTV that the final call has not been taken. "Once we make a decision, it will be announced immediately," he said.
In a signal that it is still in the game, the Congress has vocally supported Akhilesh Yadav today over the possibility of CBI investigating him in the mining scam. Last week, the party had said it was open to an alliance in Uttar Pradesh with any party that wants to "free" the people from BJP rule.
Mr Yadav, however, made it clear that he was upset with the Congress, complaining that despite the party's promise, its lone lawmaker has been left out of the government. The Congress, which fell short of majority by a whisker in last month's assembly elections, had formed government with the support of Mayawati and Mr Yadav.
Hinting at a payback in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Yadav had said, "Thanks to the Congress, they did not make our vidhayak (legislator) a minister," Akhilesh Yadav had told reporters last week. By doing so, the Congress had "cleared the path for Uttar Pradesh".
Mayawati, who had ruled out an alliance with the Congress in the three heartland states ahead of the assembly election, had reluctantly come around after the results, saying she wished to keep the BJP out of power.