The Congress is reportedly all set to join the SP-BSP-RLD grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, sources said on Thursday. The deal was sealed after the grand old party was offered 14 Lok Sabha constituencies. Sources privy to the development also claimed that a formal announcement in this regard will be made soon in the state capital.
Sources said that newly appointed Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh east Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has cancelled her tomorrow’s proposed rally in Uttar Pradesh in order to finalise the deal. According to sources, besides 11 candidates - whose names have been announced in the first list - the Congress will field its candidates on Barabanki, Pratapgarh and Sultanpur.
Earlier on Thursday, Congress released the first list of 15 candidates for Lok Sabha elections 2019. Out of 15 candidates, 11 are from Uttar Pradesh and 4 from Gujarat. Names of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi have appeared in the first list. Another prominent name in the list is senior party leader and former union minister Salman Khurshid.
The list was finalised at a meeting of the party's central election committee chaired by Rahul Gandhi.
Sonia Gandhi - Rae Bareli, Rahul Gandhi – Amethi, Salman Khurshid – Farrukhabad, Rajaram Pal – Akbarpur, Brij Lal Khabri - Jalaun (SC), Nirmal Khatri – Faizabad, RPN Singh – Kushi Nagar, Imran Masood – Saharanpur, Saleem Iqbal Shervani – Badaun, Jitin Prasad – Dhaurahra and Annu Tandon – Unnao are the candidates who will contest the elections from Uttar Pradesh.
Earlier, the Congress party had demanded 20 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. However, both Akhilesh and Mayawati agreed to give just 15 seats but the Congress rejected the offer. In the fresh round of talks, the Congress demanded 15 more seats, excluding Amethi and Rae Bareli. However, sources said that SP and BSP are willing to give just 12 more seats.
As per the new pact, the Samajwadi Party the Bahujan Samaj Party will give up six seats each. During a press conference on Tuesday, Akhilesh Yadav himself had said that the Congress was not completely out of the grand alliance and the talks were still on.
BSP chief Mayawati and SP's Yadav had jointly announced their alliance in January, saying the SP and the BSP will contest 38 seats each out of the total 80 in Uttar Pradesh. However, according to a list released later, the SP announced it will contest 37 seats and the BSP 38.