UP elections: SP, Congress formally announce pre-poll alliance

SP will contest for 298 seats while Congress will have 105 candidates in the fray.

Lucknow: Capping days of feverish parleys, Congress and Samajwadi Party on Sunday forged an alliance to contest the UP Assembly polls together.

At a joint press conference here, leaders the two parties said SP will contest 298 of the 403 seats and Congress the remaining 105.

"SP and Congress have forged an alliance and will contest UP assembly polls together," SP state president Naresh Uttam told the hurriedly convened media briefing.

UP PCC chief Raj Babbar hoped the SP-Congress alliance will reap a bumper electoral harvest in the state and fulfil aspriations of all sections of the society.

He said a Common Minimum Programme will be drafted within a week.

Talks between top Congress and SP leaders had been going on for the last several days for but an announcement got delayed as the two parties refused to scale down their demand for the number of seats each would contest.

Sources said the alliance materialised after Congress President Sonia Gandhi intervened.

They said top leaders of both the parties finalised the seat sharing arrangement around wee hours today.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had earlier tweeted: "Discussion was at highest level- CM (UP), GS I/C & Priyanka Gandhi."

Prospects of forming of an alliance between Samajwadi Party and Congress for the Uttar Pradesh polls had run into rough weather, with both parties hardening their stance over the number of seats.

At one stage senior SP leader Naresh Agarwal had said the possibility of an alliance was "almost over" and blamed the "stubborn" attitude of Congress for the deadlock.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had initially offered 100 seats to Congress but they demanded 120.

Samajwadi Party then argued that it had 234 sitting legislators and there were some others who would also contest.

Thus, the ruling party needed at least 300 of the 403 seats. But, Congress leaders had informed the SP that in such a scenario, there cannot be an alliance.

( Source : PTI )
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