‘We can’t give Congress more than 17 seats in Uttar Pradesh’

March 6th, 2009 - 6:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) The Samajwadi Party Friday said it cannot give more then 17 seats to the Congress in Uttar Pradesh as part of pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress, on its part, has already released a list of 24 candidates for the polls.
“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, general secretary of the Samajwadi Party told reporters here Friday.

Singh, however, refused to comment on whether the alliance was still on.

“I am not using harsh words that the alliance has broken. But, even if there is no alliance we will not put candidates against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi in Rae Bareli and Amethi constituencies,” Singh said.

Talks between the two parties for a pre-poll alliance have been going on for long. The Samajwadi Party, which has announced candidates for 64 of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, had offered 17 seats to the Congress.

The Congress, on its part, released its ‘first list’ of 24 candidates from Uttar Pradesh March 4.

Singh also said that announcement of candidates by Congress for some of the seats where Samajwadi Party has sitting MPs is unacceptable.

“It is unacceptable as no party will be willing to give seats of its sitting parliamentarians 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 seats to them,” he added.

Taking a jibe at the Congress, Singh said: “Congress, I think, is a very strong party in Uttar Pradesh and this has become clear in the by-election for Bhadohi legislative seat which was won by Samajwadi Party and Congress candidate was in 7th position.”

The polling for the by-election of Bhadohi seat was held Feb 26. Results were declared March 1. Samajwadi Party candidate Madhubala Pasi won the by-election.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, while refusing to comment on the situation at the moment, said the results of a by-election should not be taken into consideration “when you are looking at the larger picture”.

“I do not propose to share anything as of now as things have to be finalised by the co-ordination committee. I think results of a by-election should not be taken into consideration when you are looking at a larger alliance for general elections. It is like muddying the water and rather than calling points against each other we need to sit and think of how we can improve and win maximum seats in the state,” Singhvi said.

Singhvi said it’s time now for the two parties to sit together and work out the possibilities of the alliance.

Elections in Uttar Pradesh will be held in five phases; April 16, 23 and 30, and May 7 and 13. Results for the elections would be declared May 16.

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