Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday announced that his party will field candidates on all 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in this year’s parliamentary polls. His announcement, made in Lucknow, came a day after the SP-BSP alliance announced their seat-sharing arrangements according to which they will contest on 38 seats each, while two will be allocated to the RLD.
The SP-BSP alliance had also said that it will not field candidates in two traditional Congress seats in Amethi and Raebareli.
On Sunday, Azad, also the AICC in-charge of his party for Uttar Pradesh, said, “The Congress will contest on all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh and defeat the BJP.” He said that his party will double its tally of 21 seats that it won in 2009 Lok Sabha polls. In 2014 Lok Sabha, the Congress had managed to win just two out of 80 seats.
Azad evaded the question on whether his party will reciprocate the gesture shown by the SP-BSP alliance by not fielding a candidate against BSP Chief Mayawati. Before making the announcement, Azad and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar had held closed-door talks in the state capital.
Azad said that his party was willing to accommodate other like-minded parties into an anti-BJP alliance. “If any secular party competent to fight the BJP, willing to go with us, we will accommodate them,” PTI quoted Azad as saying.
A report by NDTV said that Congress President Rahul Gandhi will hold 13 election rallies during the Lok Sabha polls.
It remains to be seen as to how SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati react to the Congress announcement. Yadav’s Samajwadi Party had contested the last assembly elections in alliance with the Congress in 2017. The BJP had won a landslide majority as by taking advantage of the division in secular votes.