Ending all speculations, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said that his party would enter into an alliance with the Samajwadi Party for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls under the leadership of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
“There will be a Congress-SP alliance in the UP polls,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, adding that they will decide on a broader tie-up of political parties – a maha-gathbandhan – in the coming days.
Azad also confirmed that the two parties will contest the polls under Akhilesh’s leadership, a decision that enjoyed Congress chief ministerial candidate Sheila Dikshit’s wholehearted support.
“I would like to gracefully withdraw because we cannot have two CM candidates for the elections,” said Dikshit.
“I congratulate Akhilesh Yadav on getting the party symbol. It is good that the Election Commission has taken a decision on the issue,” she had said.
Earlier this month, Dikshit had said in case of an alliance, Akhilesh was likely to be the face of the campaign and that she would like to step aside.
When asked about the much talked about “Mahagatbandhan” Azad said that they would think about it in the days to come but as of now, the Congress-SP alliance is confirmed.
The Election Commission ruling in favour of Akhilesh has also set the stage for the formation of a grand alliance of like-minded parties in Uttar Pradesh and other states.
A ‘Mahagathbandhan’ – on the lines of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance in Bihar – comprising of the Samajwadi Party, Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal has now come a step closer to reality after the EC decision in favour of Akhilesh Yadav.
As of now it is an alliance of Congress and SP. We will think about a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in coming days, Azad said.
The young UP CM’s closest confidante and uncle Ram Gopal Yadav had yesterday hinted that as per his own view there we an alliance with the Congress but the final decision on the matter will be taken by Akhilesh himself.
Media reports have suggested that the Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) combine may get at least 120-125 of the total 403 seats.
Uttar Pradesh — the country’s most populous and politically significant state — will elect a new 403-seat state assembly in seven phases: February 11 (73 seats), February 15 (67 seats), February 19 (69 seats), February 23 (53 seats), February 27 (52 seats), March 4 (49 seats) and March 8 (40 seats).