After several confirmations and subsequent U-turns, the Congress party on Sunday said that the alliance with Samajwadi Party had been secured and both parties will contest assembly polls together.
Queering the pitch for BJP and BSP, the two parties today reached a seat-sharing agreement with Congress likely to contest around 103 seats and the SP about 300.
The talks between top Congress and SP leaders had been going on for last several days for but got delayed as the two parties engaged in tough bargain.
Sources also said the alliance materialised after Congress President Sonia Gandhi intervened.
According to sources, top leaders of both the parties finalised the seat sharing arrangement late last night and a formal announcement in this regard was likely to be made in Lucknow this evening.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had earlier tweeted: “Discussion was at highest level- CM (UP), GS I/C & Priyanka Gandhi.”
Congress’ Central Election Committee met in Delhi and went ahead with finalising candidates for 140 seats which will go to polls in the first two phases.
The party, however, did not declare its candidates for these seats, leaving a window for a possible alliance for which talks were held till wee hours today.
“We had a meeting of CEC for the first and second phase,” Congress general secretary incharge of Uttar Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad had told reporters in Delhi yesterday, adding the party’s candidates for 140 seats were finalised.
However, a cofident UP Congress chief Raj Babbar had maintained, “There are no roadblocks in the talks.”
Congress was also learnt to have been demanding that its candidates should be fielded in Amethi and Rae Bareli segments of the Lok Sabha constituencies represented by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. It was not immediately known to what extent the SP had accomodated Congress’ demand.
Congress was also keen to include Ajit Singh-led RLD in the alliance, which the Samajwadi Party did not want.
SP had maintained it will have no truck with RLD and, if Congress wanted, it could give its share of seats to Ajit Singh’s party.
SP vice president Kironmoy Nanda said after the alliance with Congress, “We will get an absolute majority in the state and Akhilesh will become chief minister again.”
In the 2012 Assembly polls, SP had won 224 seats with a vote share of 29.3 per cent, while Congress had bagged 28 seats with an 11.7 per cent vote share. A party or alliance which garners 40 per cent of the votes will sweep the polls.
Earlier, RJD president Lalu Prasad today tweeted that he was in talks with the Congress and Samajwadi Party for forging an alliance between the two parties in Uttar Pradesh.
“I have been consistently in talks with Samajwadi Party and Congress’ top leadership for stitching an alliance between the two parties in Uttar Pradesh,” he said in a tweet.
“Hoping and doing my best to stitch the Bihar-like alliance,” Prasad tweeted.
Prasad, who has family ties with Mulayam, had tried in vain to intervene in the battle for party’s leadership between the SP patriarch and his Chief Minister son Akhilesh Yadav in the power game in the ruling party.
Once Akhilesh finally wrested the SP chief’s post from his father and got its ‘bicycle’ symbol from the Election Commission, the Prasad family pitched its support to him and promised to campaign for the faction led by the chief minister.
There are 403 Assembly seats in UP, election for which would be held in seven phases starting February 11.
The last phase of the poll would take place on March 8.
Counting would be held on March 11.