Congress writing ‘obituary’ of alliance with Samajwadi Party: Amar (Lead)

March 6th, 2009 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) The Congress move to announce 24 candidates in Uttar Pradesh amounts to spiking a possible alliance in the state for the Lok Sabha elections, the Samajwadi Party said, adding it would not allot more than 17 seats to the Congress in any tie-up.
Miffed at the Congress announcement, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh told reporters here that this amounted to writing an “obituary” for a Congress-Samajwadi alliance.

“We had offered 17 seats to the Congress but they don’t want anything less then 24 seats. However, we cannot give more then 17 seats,” Amar Singh told reporters here.

He refused to say if the alliance was still on.

“I am not using harsh words that the alliance has broken,” he said. “The obituary of the alliance was written the day the Congress announced its list of 24 candidates in Uttar Pradesh.”

He added that even if there was no alliance with the Congress, the Samajwadi Party would not field candidates against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi in Rae Bareli and Amethi.

Talks between the two parties for a pre-poll alliance have run into rough weather. The Samajwadi Party has announced candidates for 64 of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress released its first list of 24 candidates from Uttar Pradesh March 4.

Amar Singh also said that the announcement of Congress candidates for some of the seats represented in the Lok Sabha by the Samajwadi Party was unacceptable.

“No party will be willing to give seats of its sitting MPs to anyone. We just can’t let our sitting MPs sit idle and allow Congress candidates to contest from their seats. As per the Congress performance, it deserves 12 seats in the state. Still, we decided to give five more to them,” he said.

And he said sarcastically: “The Congress, I think, is a very strong party in Uttar Pradesh. This has become clear in the by-election for the Bhadohi seat which the Samajwadi Party won. The Congress was in the seventh spot.”

In response, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: “Results of a by-election should not be taken into consideration when you are looking at a larger alliance for general elections. We need to sit and think how we can improve and win maximum seats in the state.”

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