IN MOVES apparently aimed at exploring an alliance for UP in 2017, the Samajwadi Party’s Shivpal Yadav and the Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad met the JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav separately but neither the Congress nor the JD(U) has committed itself on tying up with the SP. Shivpal, the SP’s UP chief, met the JD(U)’s K C Tyagi Wednesday, visited Sharad Yadav the same night and plans to meet the RLD’s Ajit Singh in New Delhi Friday. Azad, AICC general secretary, met Sharad Yadav Thursday. On Tuesday, Yadav had met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, sources said.
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Most Congress MLAs in UP are mounting pressure on the leadership to be part of a secular alliance with the SP, the RLD, the JD(U) and a faction of the Apna Dal. But others are wary of an understanding with the SP because of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s “unpredictability” and the fluid situation in his party. One section of the Congress leadership would prefer an alliance with the BSP, but Mayawati has apparently shown no interest.
The Congress did not rule out the possibility of an alliance. “You are asking me to look into the future two months, three months, two years down the line… I will be able to answer the question when we cross the bridge,” said Congress communications department head Randeep Surjewala.
While the Congress remained tight-lipped about what Azad discussed with Sharad Yadav, sources said there is pressure on the leadership to be part of an alliance. At the same time, a section of the leadership is wary of sharing the anti-incumbency burden of the Akhilesh Yadav government.
In the JD(U), leaders said the Azad-Yadav meeting was to discuss a strategy for the forthcoming session of Parliament. But Azad, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, has not met any other senior Opposition leader.
Sharad Yadav is said to be keen to replay the Bihar experiment in UP. While Tyagi and Sharad Yadav will both attend the SP’s silver jubilee on November 5, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar hasn’t committed himself. One senior JD(U) leader told The Indian Express the party expects the first move to come from the SP, since it was Mulayam who had pulled out of the Bihar alliance.
The Congress’s Surjewala said the feud in the SP is affecting governance in UP. He urged the SP to sort out its family dispute but added the Congress is trying to form its own government. Surjewala too downplayed Azad’s meeting with Sharad Yadav, saying the JD(U) is already an ally of the Congress in Bihar.