Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh held over an hour-long discussion to finalise their electoral alliance for 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.
They were said to have reached a broad understanding for an alliance,although there still remained some differences over the number of seats on which they will have friendly contests. The two sides will have another round of negotiation later this week to thrash out their differences on a few contentious seats,it was reliably learnt.
The Congress,in the meantime,is set to announce its candidates for over a dozen Lok Sabha seats shortly,pending negotiations with the SP on contentious seats,said party sources. The Central Election Committee of the Congress had earlier authorised the party president to decide the partys candidates for the Lok Sabha seats in UP. While the Congress wants to have alliance on 18 seats and friendly contests on seven,the SP is not willing to give more than 17.
Ahead of their meeting at 10,Janpath,Yadav said,I have complete faith that we will arrive at a settlement with the Congress very soon. We are willing to give 15 seats to the Congress though they should be getting 12 (seats)…we will be glad if an alliance would be formed, he said. To a question on Congress demand for 25 seats,he said,Let the talks conclude. He refused to talk after meeting the Congress president though. Talks are in positive direction and the issue of alliance remains open, said a senior Congress leader after the meeting.
Meanwhile,speaking at a meeting with Muslim leaders in the Capital,the SP chief said he had no differences with his party colleague Azam Khan,who raised a banner of revolt against the party leadership,especially general secretary Amar Singh.
Yadav,however,disapproved of Azams criticism of the parts decision to align with former BJP leader Kalyan Singh.
Kalyan Singh is one of the tallest leaders,who holds away in 21 districts of UP. He will help us defeat the BJP. If Azam Khan has a problem with Kalyan,why didn’t he voice his opposition when Kalyan’s Rashtriya Kranti Dal was part of the Government headed by me? Azam was a minister then. Why didn’t he speak out then? asked the SP chief.