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SP says alliance broken,retraces: we don’t mind a few friendly fights

With both the Congress and the Samajwadi Party standing their ground,the alliance appears to be on a sticky wicket in Uttar Pradesh...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi/lucknow |
March 7, 2009 2:23:16 am

With both the Congress and the Samajwadi Party standing their ground,the alliance appears to be on a sticky wicket in Uttar Pradesh,which is gearing up for “friendly contests” in over a dozen constituencies out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats that the state has.

“I don’t want to use any harsh words,but the alliance is broken… the obituary of the alliance was written the day the Congress announced its list of 24 candidates in UP,” SP general secretary Amar Singh told mediapersons on Friday. “If our offer of 17 seats is rejected by the Congress,we accept our fate.”

Singh,however,hastened to add the SP would field candidates against two sitting Congress MPs and would not contest the remaining seats held by the Congress. “If they (Congress) can put up candidates in our sitting seats,we can also do so… there are seats like Aligarh and Varanasi where the Congress has sitting MPs. The SP could field candidates in such seats,” he said.

The SP leader made it clear that all was not lost in terms of an alliance with the Congress. “Our principal opponent in Uttar Pradesh is the BSP,and we are not going to contest against the Congress in the state.

However,if we feel that in any of the constituencies our candidate is weaker than that of the BSP,and the Congress has a stronger candidate,we will support the Congress,” he said.

“Congress may have reservations about supporting us,but we don’t have reservations about supporting Congress in the state,” he added.

In Lucknow,SP chief Mulayam Singh also drove the same point home. Maintaining the SP always put the nation before the party and the support to the Congress on the nuclear deal was part of this approach,he said,“We have not fielded our candidates from the sitting seats of the Congress and we sincerely believe that the Congress will reciprocate in the same manner and spirit.”

Asserting that “we have approached the negotiations with honest intentions,” he added that they would not field candidates against Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in Rae Bareli and Amethi even if the alliance failed.

The party,however,announced the candidature of Vinod Singh alias Pandit Singh from Gonda Lok Sabha seat,from where the Congress has fielded SP rebel Beni Prasad Verma.

Amar meets Pawar,seeks ‘electoral understanding’

SAMAJWADI Party general secretary Amar Singh met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar in the Capital on Friday.

The meeting was aimed at forging an electoral understanding between the SP and the NCP in Maharashtra. “Pawar has been in favour of contesting elections in Mumbai with the SP. But the Congress is creating difficulty in giving seats to the NCP in Mumbai. In this scenario,whether we should contest separately or in partnership with the NCP is to be decided with Pawar,” Amar Singh told reporters after meeting. “A strategy would have to be developed with the NCP and as of now,no definite decision has been taken,” he added. Amar Singh said the SP is ready to work with the NCP after the Lok Sabha elections,even if the pre-poll understanding does not work out. “Both NCP and the SP will together give shape to a secular alliance (after the elections),” he said.

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