The Congress on Wednesday said it is open to an alliance with other parties in Uttar Pradesh for Lok Sabha elections provided it is a "respectable" arrangement which does not harm it and is effective in preventing vote division.
Amid speculation about possibility of forming a "grand alliance" in crucial Uttar Pradesh to take on the BJP, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said it is early days and though the issue is "open", things will be clear only by January or February.
"We are in December. There is no question of stitching alliances, closing doors or opening doors. I think that level of discussion and interaction have now started.
"Certainly there is an understanding on alliance of some sort between two parties in UP. That is not to say that we have been or other parties have been part of that process at the moment. That is neither to include nor to exclude. At best you can say this issue is open," he said.
The Congress leader said one would find something happening on it in the near future.
"Everybody realises the importance of minimizing and preventing vote division and you have to wait for the story to unfold in January and February. I think this is premature to come to any conclusion yet. I am not saying in the affirmative or in the negative," he said when asked about whether the Congress will be a part of a grand alliance of parties in Uttar Pradesh.
On whether Rahul Gandhi will attend Mayawati's birthday celebrations on January 15, Singhvi said, "Let us not mix up social courtesies with political decision-making which is a hard, solid, reason, logic decision making."
"What to talk of Mayawati Ji and Akhilesh Yadav Ji and their respective parties, even those who are antagonistically opposed to us, which these parties are not really in any major sense, even there we have maintained these social courtesies," he said.
"These are hard issues of logical concentration. They take time. You can rest assure that if it is so to happen, it will happen within a reasonable time frame. Let me not speculate on this. But by the end of the day, if things don’t turn out, we are a national party; we have fought elections on our own.
"In U.P. we will fight fully and totally but, we would like only because it should not benefit by vote division to the BJP. That is the basic object of trying to lean over backwards in getting the best for the country," he said.
Singhvi said the Congress is certainly "keen and ready to be part of any secular, non-communal, reasonable alliance, understanding, adjustment", but provided "it is respectable, it does not cause harm not only to the other parties but also to Congress party and it is effective in preventing vote division. That is the mantra of getting together, but we are now talking of a process which has not yet started."
"We have neither been included nor been excluded," he added.
Asked whether the Congress is keen on an alliance, he said, "We are open to an alliance provided these conditions are met".
Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha seats.
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