New Delhi: A day after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was allotted the Samajwadi Party (SP) name and the party symbol (bicycle) by the Election Commission, the Congress on Tuesday officially confirmed that the two parties will contest the upcoming state elections together.
“The SP-Congress alliance for upcoming polls is happening and I am confident that we will form the government in the state,” Ghulam Nabi Azad, senior Congress leader and in charge of Uttar Pradesh, told reporters. Azad did not divulge any details about the seat-sharing arrangement or candidate selection.
In reply to a question on whether the alliance could also include Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), quite on the lines of the Grand Alliance in Bihar, Azad said: “Right now we are talking about two parties. We are not going into the nitty-gritty but in the next 24-48 hours the details including candidate selection would be worked out.”
A news report by agency IANS said that Congress’s chief ministerial candidate in UP, Sheila Dikshit, told reporters that if she is asked to step down, she will do it because “there cannot be two chief ministerial candidates”. In a surprising announcement in July last year, the former Delhi chief minister and veteran Congress leader was announced as the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
Azad too indicated that Yadav would lead the alliance. “Right now we have just said that alliance will happen… at this point I am just confirming that the alliance between SP under the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav and the Congress party will be there,” he told reporters.
Congress party has been out of power in Uttar Pradesh since 1989 when N.D. Tiwari was chief minister. While the party has been out of power in the state for 27 years, the last time it secured a double-digit vote share in the state was in the 1993 assembly election.
Earlier in the day, Yadav told reporters a detailed announcement on the alliance would be made soon.