AS THE Congress acknowledged Wednesday that it was under pressure to form a “secular” alliance to take on the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, its chief ministerial candidate in the state, Sheila Dikshit, said she was willing to step aside to facilitate any such move. The UP assembly elections will be held in seven phases starting February 11.
Asked whether she would withdraw if the Congress formed an electoral alliance with SP, Dikshit told The Indian Express, “Of course, I will. You cannot have two chief ministerial candidates… If it is good for the party… what the party high command decides is good for me. No question of anything personal.”
Responding to the question of a possible alliance with the SP, Dikshit said, “… In politics you don’t know till the decision is taken. And till a decision is taken how can you conjecture.”
On the potential benefits of such a tie-up, she said, “That is for the high command and everybody to take a decision. I don’t know… but Akhilesh seems to have said [so]… the only statement that has come has come from him… nobody from the Congress has said anything.”
Dikshit was referring to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s statement last month that if an alliance between SP and Congress took shape, it would win over 300 of the 403 seats.
AICC general secretary in charge of UP, Ghulam Nabi Azad, meanwhile, described the situation in UP as “fluid”. Azad told The Indian Express that while the Congress was set to begin selection of candidates for all 403 seats Thursday, there was pressure on the party and other “secular” parties to join hands.
“There is pressure on us. There is pressure on other secular parties… pressure from secular forces that secular parties should unite… like we had united on the floor of the House in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and given a befitting reply to the BJP and the NDA in Parliament… so there is a lot of pressure on the secular forces that why doesn’t they unite and defeat the BJP… That also we are keeping in mind,” Azad said.