A pre-poll alliance between Congress and SP not ruled out

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Though there is no official confirmation from the Samajwadi Party (SP), some Congress leaders in the state are hopeful of a pre-poll alliance with the party and claim that, excepting one or two, agreement has been reached on most of the contentious issue.

A major dispute between the two was on the number of seats which the two should contest. A consensus has been reached on the issue and the Samajwadi Party has agreed to leave 100 seats out of the total 403 for the Congress.

The only vexing issue or the only undecided issue is  creation of a new post of deputy chief minister which should be offered to the Congress in case of the two getting majority in the forthcoming assembly election in the state that is due early next year.

In two states of Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir the same arrangement has been made. This practice has been in vogue in the past too. So, it is not a new demand made by a poll partner, the Congress is learnt to have argued. The ruling party in the state has so far not conceded the demand, a Congress leader, who had knowledge of the goings-on, said here on Friday.

If he and another party leader who is also privy to the development are to be believed chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is not opposed to pre-poll alliance with the party. “Being young he has a liking for the party leader Rahul Gandhi and he has said so on more than one occasion”, they said.

But all those concerned in this party and in the Samajwadi Party are unanimous on one point that the final call can be taken only by the national party president Mulayam Singh Yadav. The party has been supported by the Congress in the past and, therefore, the tie-up between the two will not be something new or unique.

The Congress, it is believed, veered round this idea when Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar declined to join the grand alliance proposed in the state on the pattern of Bihar. Another consideration was his government partner Lalu Prasad Yadav’s declaration that he would not set -up his party candidates in the state, although he did not say anything against the alliance.

Later, Nitish joined hands with the Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh which dashed all hopes of a socialist alliance too, let alone grand alliance.  It was only then that the thought of an alliance between the Congress and Samajwadi Party came to a head.

There is a dispute over who took the initiative first. Going by these sources, the initiative was taken by top Congress leaders in Delhi. It was at their instance that party strategist Prashant Kishor met Mulayam Singh Yadav in Delhi and broached the subject. May be it was for this reason that the local party leaders were unaware of the development. Uttar Pradesh party president Raj Babbar is on record saying that Kishor was not authorised to talk to anyone on the alliance issue.

Whosoever may be working behind the scene,  a pre-poll alliance between the two is not totally ruled out.