INDIA Alliance: SP-Congress Finalise Seat-Sharing Deal In UP For Upcoming Lok Sabha Polls

INDIA Alliance: SP-Congress Finalise Seat-Sharing Deal In UP For Upcoming Lok Sabha Polls

Under the agreed-upon terms, Congress will contest 17 seats, while the SP will field candidates in the remaining constituencies.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 10:57 PM IST
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A last-minute phone call by Priyanka Gandhi, the leader of the Congress party, to Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Akhilesh Yadav, has resurrected what seemed to be a faltering alliance between the two parties in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.

Under the finalised agreement, the Congress is slated to contest 17 seats, including the significant Varanasi constituency, in the forthcoming elections. The decision is particularly noteworthy as the Samajwadi Party had previously announced its candidate for the Varanasi seat, only to cede it to Congress a day later.

Varanasi's political significance

Varanasi holds immense political significance as it is the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Uttar Pradesh Congress President Ajai Rai had hinted at the possibility of Priyanka Gandhi herself contesting from this seat.

Tensions over seat distribution had been mounting between the two parties. This was reflected the way SP leader Akhilesh Yadav was evasive about joining Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' in Rae Bareli.

Notably, SP representatives were conspicuously absent from Rahul Gandhi's journey through Lucknow, hinting at a potential rupture in the India Alliance in Uttar Pradesh.

The alliance's fate

The alliance's fate seemed uncertain when the SP announced the candidacy of 11 individuals, including a nominee for the Varanasi constituency initially suggested for Congress.

Sources within the Congress suggest that the intervention of Priyanka Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav played pivotal roles in shaping the alliance.

A senior Congress leader revealed that extensive discussions between the two leaders over the phone eventually led to the finalization of the alliance, salvaging it from collapse.

"While the Samajwadi Party's announcement of candidates initially cast doubts on the alliance's survival, the initiative taken by Priyanka Gandhi paved the way for both parties to contest together," stated senior Congress leader DP Singh.

The terms of seat sharing

Under the agreed-upon terms, Congress will contest 17 seats, while the SP will field candidates in the remaining constituencies. Notable allocations include Congress candidates in Amethi, Rae Bareli, and Varanasi, while SP candidates will vie for seats in Hathras and other constituencies.

During a joint press conference held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Congress in-charge Avinash Pandey reiterated the coalition's commitment to upholding democracy and thanked Priyanka Gandhi for her efforts in consolidating the alliance.

In response, SP leader Rajendra Chaudhary emphasized the coalition's objective of ousting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power and addressing the concerns of farmers and youth, expressing confidence in the 'India Alliance' to counter BJP's rhetoric effectively.

Narendra Uttam Patel, the state president of SP, affirmed the coalition's agreement, outlining the distribution of seats between the two parties in Uttar Pradesh, along with the allocation of the Khajuraho seat in Madhya Pradesh to Congress.

Congress Seats Allocation:

Rae Bareli, Amethi, Kanpur Nagar, Fatehpur Sikri, Bansi, Saharanpur, Prayagraj, Maharajganj, Varanasi, Amroha, Jhansi, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Sitapur, Barabanki and Deoria

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