To woo allies in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, the Congress in a reciprocal gesture on Sunday announced that it will leave more than a dozen Lok Sabha seats for other parties, including seven seats for the SP, BSP and RLD alliance in the state. Apart from this, the grand old party of India also announced that it will leave two seats for the Apna Dal, and entered into an electoral agreement with the lesser known Jan Adhikar Party.
"The Congress is leaving seven Lok Sabha seats in the state for the SP, BSP and RLD alliance. These include Mainpuri, Kannauj and Firozabad. Apart from this, the party will not field any candidate on seats from where BSP chief Mayawati, RLD chief Ajit Singh and his son Jayant Chaudhary are likely to contest or may contest," UP Congress chief Raj Babbar told reporters here. He, however, could not tell the name of the seventh Lok Sabha seat, which the Congress will be leaving for the alliance.
"The alliance has left the seats of Rae Bareli (held by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi) and Amethi (held by Congress president Rahul Gandhi). In a reciprocating gesture, we are leaving seven Lok Sabha seats for them," Babbar said. When asked whether it is Badaun, he replied in the negative.
On March 8, the Samajwadi Party had released its first list of nine candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, fielding party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav from its stronghold Mainpuri. The party later announced that SP chief Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple Yadav would contest from Kannauj, where she is the sitting MP.
The party has decided to field MPs Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav from the current seats of Badaun and Firozabad, respectively. Incidentally, the Congress had announced Saleem Iqbal Shervani as its candidate from Badaun.
Babbar said the Congress has also decided to leave the Lok Sabha seats of Gonda and Pilibhit for the Apna Dal. "The Congress also entered into an electoral agreement of seven seats with the Jan Adkhikar Party. Under the agreement, the Jan Adkhikar Party will contest from five seats, including Jhansi, Chandauli, Etah and Basti. On two seats, the candidates of Jan Adkhikar Party will contest on Congress symbol. One of the two seats is Ghazipur," he said.
The Jan Adkhikar Party was founded by Babu Singh Kushwaha, a former BSP minister and close aide of Mayawati. Kushwaha was one of Mayawati's most trusted "backroom boys", and a senior member of the UP cabinet. On April 7, 2011, he was forced to resign after being implicated in the murder of two chief medical officers.
(With inputs from agencies.)