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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  UP elections: What we know so far about the SP-Congress alliance
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UP elections: What we know so far about the SP-Congress alliance

SP-Congress alliance will together contest next month's elections in Uttar Pradesh. Here's what we know so far

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav releasing Samajwadi Party’s manifesto for assembly elections on Sunday. Photo: PTIPremium
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav releasing Samajwadi Party’s manifesto for assembly elections on Sunday. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress have firmed up a pre-poll grand alliance to contest the state legislative assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress will play second fiddle to the ruling SP and back Akhilesh Yadav’s quest to return to power in a state that has not returned any sitting chief minister since mid-1980s. The alliance negotiations reportedly took more than two months to finally come to fruition and that too after the intervention of the Gandhi family.

Here are the major developments related to the alliance so far:

■ The SP will contest 298 seats, the Congress party will fight in 105 of the 403 assembly constituencies in the Uttar Pradesh elections next month.

■ Akhilesh Yadav is the alliance’s chief ministerial candidate. “For the unity of the country and committed to the idea of secularism, SP and Congress will contest the 2017 polls together. We appeal to the supporters to vote for the candidates of the two parties to take forward the agenda of development started by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav," said SP state president Naresh Uttam at a joint press conference with Raj Babbar, his counterpart in the Congress.

■ The Congress released its first list of 41 candidates for constituencies going to polls in the first two phases—11 and 15 February.

■ Congress candidates include former Union minister Jitin Prasada from Tilhar constituency, chief of the UP Congress legislative party Pradeep Mathur from Mathura and state vice-president Imraan Masood from Nakur.

■ The SP also released its second list of 77 candidates on Sunday.

■ The breakthrough in long drawn negotiations followed the intervention of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi.

■ The SP leadership was adamant on contesting more than 300 seats, but the party finally agreed to contest in 298. The SP leadership had initially offered just 80-85 seats to the Congress.

■ Given RLD is not part of the alliance, SP decided to give the Congress 105 of the 403 assembly seats. But an Indian Express report quoting Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad says the party wanted 150 seats to contest.

■ Earlier, on Friday, SP had released a list of 191 candidates which also contained the names of candidates for nine seats from where the latter has members of legislative assembly (MLA).

■ According to a Hindustan Times report, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will select ‘winning’ candidates for the Congress in the assembly constituencies of the two family bastions of Rae Bareli and Amethi.

■ The SP had demolished the Congress boroughs and won seven out of 10 assembly seats of Rae Bareli and Amethi in 2012 assembly polls. The Congress had won two while one seat went to an Independent candidate.

■ In 2012 assembly elections, the Congress’s share in total polled votes was roughly 12%, while the SP could win 224 seats with just a little over 29% vote share.

■ For instance, Muslims constitute 19.3% of Uttar Pradesh’s population and in 73 constituencies; they form over 30% of the electorate. In the 2012 elections, out of those 73 seats, the SP won 35 seats, the BJP 17 and the BSP 13. The Congress and Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal won six seats while smaller Muslim parties grabbed two seats.

■ Akhilesh Yadav has the highest approval ratings in the state for chief minister’s post. Compared to him, Union home minister Rajnath Singh, who served as the chief minister of the state between 2000 and 2002, has an approval rating of less than 20%.

■ Reports of simmering discontent over BJP’s ticket distribution have come with many party workers questioning the manner in which the party has given tickets to outsiders. In the first list of 149 candidates announced by BJP, 25 have reportedly joined the party in recent months.

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Updated: 23 Jan 2017, 06:25 PM IST
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