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Mulayam bends,Cong sends a ‘holy’ greeting

A day after the seat-sharing talks between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party seemed on the verge of collapse,both sides on Thursday changed tack,saying the hopes of a tie-up for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls were very much alive.

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow |
March 6, 2009 3:21:32 am

A day after tie-up talks seemed doomed,ex-UP CM says won’t field candidates against Sonia,Rahul; Cong says nothing ‘unholy’ about an alliance

A day after the seat-sharing talks between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party seemed on the verge of collapse,both sides on Thursday changed tack,saying the hopes of a tie-up for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls were very much alive.

The first move to scale down the tension was made by SP chief Mulayam Singh Ydaav,who said his party would not field candidates in Amethi and Rai Bareli,from where Rahul and Sonia Gandhi will be in the fray as Congress candidates.

“Alliance or no alliance,my party will not field candidates from Amethi and Rai Bareli,” Yadav said in Etawah a day after the Congress released its list of 24 candidates,a move seemed calibrated to raise the heat on the SP.

Yadav said his party was interested in having an alliance with the Congress and “was hopeful of ending the impasse through talks”. “I will personally meet Sonia Gandhi very soon to talk over the issue,” the former CM said.

Shortly after Yadav made his goodwill gesture in Etawah,Congress leader in-charge of UP Digvijay Singh said UPCC Chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi had spoken to the SP chief,indicating that channels of communication have not broken down. “The alliance is neither unholy,nor it is over,” he said,distancing the party from the statement of senior leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi,a known detractor of SP leader Amar Singh,who had dubbed the tie-up as “unholy”.

Singh,also the general secretary of the Congress,himself gave mixed signals on the alliance maintaining on the one hand that “we are open for discussions” but also suggesting that his party’s second list could come out soon.

Congress’ central screening committee for UP also had its meeting today to shortlist candidates for other seats,giving ample hints that the party was making all preparations,if the need comes,to contest all the 80 seats. The committee is headed by Union Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

UP is politically the most important state as it sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha.

Meanwhile,the SP is expected to come out on Friday with its formal response to the Congress’ announcement of its list of 24 candidates for UP.

Yadav is likely to hold a meeting of his party district presidents and other office-bearers in Lucknow along with the candidates whose names have been announced by the party.

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