- Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav announce seat-sharing details in UP
- Rahul Gandhi said Congress will contest all 80 seats in the state
- Mr Yadav's party will contest some of the key urban seats
Ending Congress's hopes for a last-minute berth in the opposition alliance in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav today shared the final frame of the seat sharing, down to the names. The list had 75 of the state's 80 seats, of which Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party gets 38 seats and the Samajwadi Party 37.
The seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli -- the stronghold of the Gandhi family -- have been left untouched as promised by Mayawati. The remaining three are expected to go to Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal.
The announcement officially turns the battle for Uttar Pradesh -- considered the gateway to Delhi -- a three-cornered contest.
While Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had said the Congress will contest all 80 seats in the state, a section within the party still held onto hopes of a rethink by Mayawati after the entry of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into active politics.
But the Dalit leader -- who had been hugely upset with the Congress after seat sharing talks for the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh fell through - has not budged.
Last week, she even criticised the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh, where her lone lawmaker is supporting the government.
To questions whether the entry of the Congress will divert votes from the SP-BSP alliance and help the BJP, leaders of both parties had responded in the negative. They said the hopes were rather that the Congress will draw upper caste votes, which would have gone to the BJP.
Under the arrangement announced today, Mr Yadav's party will contest some of the key urban seats - Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad and Jhansi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency Varanasi and Yogi Adityanath's stronghold Gorakhpur will also go to the party.
Mayawati's party will contest the seats in Meerut, Agra, Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida), Aligarh, Saharanpur.