Depending on the numerical equation in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly after the elections,the Congress is prepared to share power with the Samajwadi Party,notwithstanding public assertions to the contrary by the top party leadership. Party sources,however,added that they would try to stake claim for chief ministership in the event of the Congress-Rashtriyal Lok Dal combine reaching close to three-figure mark in the 403-member Assembly.
Asked about SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav statement that it can support the Congress to keep communal forces out,Congress spokesperson Renuka Choudhury said it was a premature conclusion. She said it was not right to comment on it in the middle of election and the Congress will wait and watch. Her remarks were,however,at variance with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhis assertion that the party would have no post-poll tie up.
On the public pronouncements about no post-poll tie up,Congress sources explained that it was intended to check the perceptible drift of minority community towards the SP. Besides,at urban centres,small traders and the middle class havent still forgotten the goonda raj during the SP regime. The Congress would like to tap this segment, said a UP Congressman.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh had earlier stated that if the Congress is not able to form the government,there will be Presidents Rule in the state. Senior party leaders,however,dismissed the idea saying Presidents Rule is not a feasible option for a long time in a large state like UP. Already,half of our candidates in UP are defectors from other parties. Do you think they will stick with the Congress,if we decide to keep out of power for whatever reasons? a senior Congress functionary told The Indian Express.
Opening the cards that the party intends to play post-election,sources said if the Congress has adequate numbers albeit less than those of the SP,the party should be able to claim the Chief Ministers post while Mulayam Singh could be accommodated at the Centre and his son in the state. The SP will need us as much as we would need the SP. Only that we will have greater leverage. While our main goal is 2014 (parliamentary election),Mulayam cannot afford to stay out of power for another five years, said a Congress leader.
Sources said that before the election,the SP had shown willingness to have pre-poll alliance with the Congress,but a section of Congress leaders had scotched it arguing that it would hamper the partys revival plans in UP.