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With SP-BSP cementing alliance, Congress braces to fight it alone in UP

Friday - January 11, 2019 8:56 pm , Category : INDIA
Lucknow, Jan 11 (IANS) With the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party set to cement a seat-sharing deal in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress on Friday appeared reconciled to fighting a lone battle in the state.
Media coordinator of the party Rajeev Bakshi said: "Congress is prepared to contest the Lok Sabha polls on its own strength in UP".
He said in the present Lok Sabha, the party has 45 seats, a figure higher than any regional party. "So, on the one hand we'd like parties to come along, yet on the other, we have the option of going it alone," said Bakshi.
The Congress leader suggested that the 'grand alliance' should have a national party as the pivot.
He recalled that Congress had a tough time in 2009, yet it succeeded in getting 21 seats on its own in UP and forming the UPA-II government. He said it was for the party leadership to work the wires on alliances with like-minded secular parties to ensure the exit of the Modi-led NDA government.
Another leader, not wishing to be named, said most party workers and state leaders were of the view that the Congress should go it alone.
The SP-BSP has almost red-flagged the entry of Congress in the alliance, and are ready to leave two seats - Amethi and Rae Bareli -- for the Congress. The party had won only these seats in the 2014 elections when the BJP stormed to power, with 71 of its MPs coming from UP alone.
State Congress chief Raj Babbar and veteran leader P.L. Punia are reportedly against any arrangement with the regional satraps. These leaders allude to the SP-BSP's poor show in 2017 Assembly polls when they were decimated, with Congress winning less than 10 seats and the SP coming down from 225-plus to less than 50 seats.
Sources, however, say that rebel SP leader Shivpal Singh Yadav, who has floated the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP), could make for 'Plan B' of the Congress and the grand old party could also rope in smaller groups in the state.

--IANS md/prs