The Congress on Saturday indicated that it was willing to go alone in Uttar Pradesh after BSP supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav met in Delhi to agree on seat sharing arrangements on Friday.
According to reports, both Mayawati and Yadav are not keen to offer more than two traditional seats of Amethi and Raebareli to the Congress, while distributing the remaining 78 seats among the BSP, the SP and the RLD. Some reports suggested that while the BSP and the SP have agreed to contest on 37 seats each, the RLD and others will be offered two seats each. This appears to have left the Congress bigwigs incensed.
Reacting to the news of a snub from Mayawati and Akhilesh, Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP, PL Punia, said that his party may contemplate going alone in Uttar Pradesh in this year’s Lok Sabha elections. “A coalition is not important… Our workers are ready… We have not spoken to anyone about an alliance,” Punia was quoted by NDTV.
The relationship between the Congress and Mayawati had soured ahead of last year’s assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, where the Congress reportedly refused to concede to her demand for 50 seats. This had prompted her to walk out of the alliance talks and contest the polls alone. The Congress later formed the government with the help of the lone BSP MLA. However, Mayawati later alleged that the Congress had gone back on its promise to offer her MLA a ministerial berth.
Angry over the ‘insult,’ Mayawati had vowed to return the ‘favour’ to the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. She had found support from Yadav, who too alleged that the Congress had not made the SP MLA a minister in Madhya Pradesh. This, according to him, had “cleared the path for Uttar Pradesh.’
Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle and the number two in the party, Ram Gopal Yadav, said that he was confident of reaching an amicable solution on the seat sharing deal. He asked reporters to not speculate adding that there was no truth to media reports suggesting strained relationship with the Congress.