Amid uncertainty over whether Congress will be part of the grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh for Lok Sabha elections, senior state party leaders on Wednesday said they wanted like-minded parties to come together, but added that their acceptance of SP president Akhilesh Yadav as chief ministerial candidate in the last Assembly polls should not be forgotten.
This comes days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi had said in an interview that his party should not be underestimated in Uttar Pradesh.
“We are not against the alliance, but at the same time, we have to work on ground as well. Therefore, on field, we are preparing for every situation,” said Congress state president Raj Babbar on Wednesday.
“No political forum should be underestimated. I do not know about big or small party, but the fact remains that we are the oldest party and we are in the hearts of people,” he added.
Parties put up show of strength, but keep options open
Congress MLC Deepak Singh said that while they wanted like-minded parties to come together, they were also ready to field candidates in all seats in the state.
“It has been our attempt to bring everyone together but we are preparing for all seats. We will soon start finalising candidates,” Singh told The Indian Express. “It should not be forgotten that during the state Assembly elections, we had accepted Akhilesh Yadav as a chief minister (candidate) with an open heart,” he added.
Reacting to DMK chief M K Stalin’s proposal to pitch Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate, Akhilesh had in December said that one person’s opinion cannot be considered that of all alliance partners.
A meeting of Congress’ district representatives from western and central UP has been called on January 11 in New Delhi, where each of them have been asked to give their feedback about the situation on ground. Sources said AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad will chair these meetings.
Babbar said another meeting will be called in Lucknow later this week for district representatives from eastern Uttar Pradesh.
“We are going to take views and feedback from our leadership on the ground regarding Lok Sabha elections. Work is going on in that direction,” the state Congress chief told The Indian Express.