In a move being interpreted as a sign of collaboration, the Congress on Sunday declared that it will not field candidates for seven Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh where the key leaders of the SP-BSP-RLD coalition will contest.
Addressing the media, U.P. Congress Committee (UPCC) president Raj Babbar said the seats that the party would leave uncontested are “Mainpuri, Kannauj, Firozabad, and wherever Mayawatiji, RLD’s Jayantji and Ajit Singh will contest in the coming Lok Sabha election.”
He also stated that the Congress would give two seats, Gonda and Pilibhit, to Apna Dal. The announcement indicates that by leaving the key seven seats, the party is keeping hopes alive for some kind of political understanding with the SP-BSP-RLD combine that is for now the main challenger confronting the BJP in U.P.
The declared strategy of the Congress for U.P. so far indicated that the party plans to fight on the “front foot”. However, the party’s western U.P. in- charge Jyotiraditya Scindia had also talked about reciprocating courtesy in allocating seats if SP and BSP displayed such a non-hostile spirit.
Displaying mutual understanding, the SP and the BSP skipped Amethi and Rae Bareli seats where Congress president Rahul Gandhi and former party chief Sonia Gandhi will seek re-election.
Last Wednesday’s announcement of the Congress of 21 candidates was assertive and aimed as a challenge to the SP-BSP. However, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav later said in a TV interview during the weekend that party the should be “helpful”.