Samajwadi Party Meets Congress Halfway In Gandhi Turf

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Samajwadi Party Meets Congress Halfway In Gandhi Turf

The 10 seats in Amethi and Raebareli were reportedly a key point of disagreement between SP and Congress.

Lucknow: 

Highlights

  1. Congress and SP will contest 5 seats each in Amethi and Raebareli
  2. Congress and SP formally announced an alliance for the UP polls on Sunday
  3. Congress will contest 105 of the 403 seats in Uttar Pradesh
The Samajwadi Party and the Congress will contest five assembly seats each in Uttar Pradesh's Raebareli and Amethi, which are the respective parliamentary constituencies of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and deputy Rahul Gandhi. The 10 assembly seats in the Gandhi turf were said to have been a key point of disagreement in intense negotiations between the two parties, which formally announced their alliance for the upcoming UP elections on Sunday.

The Samajwadi Party has announced candidates for three of five seats in Raebareli and two of five seats in Amethi. The rest have been allotted to the Congress to contest.

In the 2012 assembly elections, the Samajwadi Party had won seven of the 10 seats whereas the Congress won two. Of the five seats that the Congress will contest this time, it had placed second to the Samajwadi Party in one seat and won two. Now, the Congress is contesting Raebareli for the seats where the independent had won.

The Congress and SP were expected to announce their alliance on Friday but reportedly could not agree on how many, and which, seats would each party contest. Talks, however, broke down when Akhilesh Yadav announced Samajwadi Party candidates for nine seats that the Congress had won in the last elections.

"It was never about Raebareli and Amethi," said senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday, insisting that the Congress had not made a prestige point about those seats.

"We wanted a certain number of seats and become part of the alliance with respect. Of the 10 seats now, we have half, they have half," he said.

In the alliance announced on Sunday, the Congress will contest 105 seats, up six from the 99 that Akhilesh Yadav had offered on Saturday.

Mr Azad, who is the Congress leader in charge of UP, credited Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the daughter of party chief Sonia Gandhi for the alliance coming through.

"I want to congratulate Priyanka Gandhiji for her efforts. It's a very difficult thing to form an alliance after years of contesting against each other," Mr Azad said.

Another senior leader Ahmed Patel had tweeted on Sunday morning:Ms Vadra had, so far, confined her political activity to her mother and brother's constituencies. In 2012, she had vowed to deliver a perfect 10 in Rae Bareli and Amethi. The Samajwadi Party, however, had upset those plans. 

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