Congress, SP Settle UP Pact, Ties with AAP Hit Roadblock

NEW DELHI: While the Congress-SP alliance is finally firmed up for Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, talks between the AAP and the Congress have reportedly hit a roadblock. A day after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that the alliance between the AAP and the Congress will soon be announced, sources claim that ongoing talk is stuck over the seat-sharing deal -- the Congress is asking for four out of seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, the AAP was willing to give only one.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav over the phone on Wednesday to break the deadlock on seat-sharing for Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh and clinch an alliance.

"I am delighted to tell you that it has been decided that in Uttar Pradesh, the INC will contest on 17 seats and the remaining 63 seats will have candidates from the INDIA bloc -- from the SP and other parties," Congress Uttar Pradesh in-charge Avinash Pande said while addressing a joint press conference of the Congress and the SP on Wednesday in Lucknow.

The press conference was attended by SP state chief Naresh Uttam Patel, SP national general secretary Rajendra Chaudhary, Congress state president Ajay Rai and Mr Pande.

“All is well that ends well... There is no dispute...there will be an alliance," Mr Yadav said when asked about his absence from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's "Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra" in Amethi and Rae Bareli. He indicated that he will be joining the yatra on either February 24 or February 25.

As per the agreement in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress will field candidates on its strongholds -- Raebareli and Amethi. Additionally, the party will also contest the Lok Sabha seats of Kanpur Nagar, Fatehpur Sikri, Basgaon, Saharanpur, Prayagraj, Maharajganj, Amroha, Jhansi, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Sitapur, Barabanki and Deoria.
The SP will contest the Khajuraho seat in Madhya Pradesh, which has 29 Lok Sabha seats and support the Congress on the rest of the seats.

On Wednesday, Mr Kejriwal admitted that the agreement on seat-sharing arrangements in Delhi between the AAP and the Congress should have happened earlier.

The Delhi chief minister said: "Let's see what happens in the next two to three days; meetings are going on. It has been delayed a lot. It should have happened earlier," Mr Kejriwal told reporters outside the Delhi Assembly when asked about the seat-sharing deal with the Congress in Delhi.
Insiders claim that the senior leadership of both parties will meet soon to settle the long-pending issue. But they are also apprehensive of the undue delay in announcing the seat-sharing deal in Delhi.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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