Sonia-Mulayam meet raises hope of seat-sharing compromise (Lead, Superseding earlier story)

September 28th, 2008 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Sep 28 (IANS) A 20-minute one-on-one meeting of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav Saturday evening may have paved the way for a compromise between the two parties over sharing of seats in Uttar Pradesh in the next Lok Sabha elections. The patch-up between Congress and Samajwadi Party hammered out ahead of the vote of confidence July 22 over the India-US nuclear deal and their subsequent decision to face the elections together in this state had run into a rough weather over the past couple of months.

The Congress, which has nine seats from the state, has been demanding at least 30 seats to contest in 2009 which is not acceptable to the Samajwadi Party.

The Samajwadi Party, sources said, would not grant the Congress any more than a dozen seats. It has 37 Lok Sabha MPs from the state, which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha.

Despite several rounds of discussions between senior leaders of the two parties from the state and the centre, no compromise could be reached.

The Saturday evening chat between the two leaders, described by the sources as a chance meeting, at Lucknow’s Amausi airport with both heading for New Delhi, might bring about a rapprochement.

Gandhi, on a two-day visit to her Rae Bareli constituency, was returning to New Delhi from the Lucknow airport and Yadav arrived there at the same time to catch the same flight.

What transpired in the meeting has been kept a secret. “The outcome would be clear once leaders of both the parties sit together for another round of discussions,” a Congress source told IANS.

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