Fate of SP-Congress alliance hangs in balance

Lucknow, Jan 21 (IANS) The fate of the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls continued to hang in balance on Saturday, even as Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azaad and a special emissary of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were holding talks with the SP to thrash out issues.

SP leaders remained unmoved on Congress demands for more seats.

Chief Minister and national president of the SP Akhilesh Yadav is to release his party’s manifesto on Sunday, spokesman Rajendra Chowdhary said. Earlier it was supposed to be happening at a joint event of the Congress and SP.

Samajwadi Party’s Maharastra state unit leader Abu Aazmi also said the SP had given enough space to the Congress and that before seeking more seats, the Congress should look at its “haisiyat” (real situation). Independent legislator from Kunda in Pratapgarh Raghuraj Pratao Singh aka Raja Bhaiyya also said that the SP should go it alone.

After meeting the SP mentor Mulayam Singh Yadav, Raja Bhaiyya, who is a minister in the Akhilesh Yadav cabinet, advocated that the SP should go it alone in the polls and expressed confidence that the party was in a position to form the next government on its own. “I am very confident that the SP under Akhilesh Yadav will romp home again and that there was no need to enter into an alliance with Congress,” he said.

The statements are being seen as an indication that the SP leadership was not very keen to tie up with the Congress though initially the first step was taken by it only. Akhilesh Yadav, then battling power centres in his party, had said a tie up with Congress would mean 300 plus seats for the combine.

On Friday however things changed dramatically when the Samajwadi Party went ahead unilaterally and declared 208 candidates that included names for seats where the Congress had won in 2012 assembly polls. Amid protests from the Congress, the SP leader made it clear that they had accommodated enough and there was no possibility of giving them more leg space.

Sources in the Congress camp however continue to be optimistic about the alliance taking shape soon.