Congress confirms grand alliance with Akhilesh’s SP

Rajat Kain

FILE: New Delhi: Congress top leaders President Sonia Gandhi, and Former PM Manmohan Singh at Rashtrapati Bhavan after meeting the President Pranab Mukherjee, December 16, 2016. Photo - PTI

FILE: New Delhi: Congress top leaders President Sonia Gandhi, and Former PM Manmohan Singh at Rashtrapati Bhavan after meeting the President Pranab Mukherjee, December 16, 2016.
Photo – PTI

In a major political development in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Congress party has “confirmed” an alliance with Samajwadi Party. The much-talked about alliance between the two parties has been in a zone of uncertainty given a feud within the Samajwadi Party.

With Akhilesh now firmly in saddle after election commission ruling according his faction with the party’s ‘Cycle’ symbol, the formal announcement on alliance now seems merely a day or two away.

“I have full faith that SP-Congress alliance will form next government in Uttar Pradesh… Will not go into the nitty-gritty of the seat sharing,” senior Congress leader and state unit chief Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

The formal announcement will be made in another 24-36 hours, Azad added flanked with UPCC head Raj Babbar and other state leaders.

There are reports that former union minister Ajit Singh’s regional outfit RLD too will be a part of alliance, which is already dubbed as ‘Mahagathbandhan’, much on the lines of victorious mix of RJD-JDU-Congress in Bihar.

FILE: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav with Ram Gopal Yadav in Lucknow.  Photo-PTI

FILE: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav with Ram Gopal Yadav in Lucknow.
Photo-PTI

Earlier in the day, the prospects of “grand alliance” brightened up with UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav saying “Decision on alliance (with Congress) will be taken in a day or two”.

SP general secretary and Akhilesh’s perceived mentor Ramgopal Yadav also expressed hope of a grand secular alliance to fight elections in the state.

“It is Akhilesh Yadav who will decide on the alliance. But I am hopeful it will happen,” he said.

The mammoth seven-phase Uttar Pradesh polling begins February 11 and results will be out on March 11.

In a related development, Congress’ CM candidate for Uttar Pradesh polls Shiela Dikshit too lend hints of advanced talks between the two parties even expressing willingness to back-off from her candidature.

The three-term Chief Minister of Delhi had come out of cold last year after her party made her CM candidate in a bid to reverse their fortunes in a politically crucial state, where they have been out of power for nearly three decades.