UP polls: SP, Cong haggle over seats in Amethi, Rae Bareli


India, Politics

Congress is in no mood to give up its claim over all the ten seats in Amethi-Rae Bareli which is the parliamentary turf of Sonia and Rahul.

Sources said Congress was perturbed as none of the five candidates declared by its alliance partner earlier has been withdrawn by Samajwadi Party. (Photo: PTI)

Lucknow: Congress and Samajwadi Party are haggling over seats in Amethi and Rae Bareli, the parliamentary turf of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul.

Congress, which managed to get 105 of the 403 seats under the seat-sharing deal with the SP after hard negotiations, is in no mood to give up its claim over all the ten seats in Amethi-Rae Bareli.

Sources said the party was perturbed as none of the five candidates declared by its alliance partner earlier has been withdrawn by SP.

"SP had announced five candidates in these parliamentary constituencies before the alliance was sealed but since then no name has been withdrawn and local Congress leaders are especially perturbed over the issue," a senior Congress leader said here.

Though both the sides are more or less agreeable to a broad understanding that Congress will get 6 and SP 4, local leaders and workers are not ready to give up either Amethi or Gauriganj Assembly seats from where SP have already announced its candidates, he said.

Congress, which is looking for a major share, also wants freedom to choose its nominees rather than blindly following the "sitting-getting" formula.

"Giving tickets only on the basis of previous performance will only benefit rivals and we cannot afford to see reverses for failure to forsee them," he said.

Without assessing the situation and winnability of each candidate before fielding them would be like helping BSP, he said, citing the example of Sareni in Rae Bareli.

SP has given ticket to its sitting MLA in Sareni but situation there has undergone a major change since 2012 and now even their supporters are against them, he said, apprehending that the seat could go to BSP in case the same candidate is repeated.

It is essential that both the alliance partners work towards assessing each others' strong and weak points seat-wise or else it will cause more harm than benefit to the ideals for which both the parties have come together, he said.

The leaders and ticket aspirants in Amethi and Rae Bareli have already vented their displeasure over Congress being made to play second fiddle and have also aired their strong views publicly.

They are now awaiting the party high command's directives, the Congress leader said on condition of anonymity.

"Negotiations are on at the highest level as per our information, with Priyanka Gandhi taking up our case with the SP leadership and we are hopeful of a favourable outcome," he said.

Besides, there is confusion in the alliance over some seats in Lucknow and some other constituencies like Saharanpur and Congress leaders are waiting for some clarity on them before they embark on electioneering, he said.

When contacted, Congress spokesman and UPCC general secretary Maroof Khan said his party has compromised on several points and on several seats but Amethi and Rae Bareli are the traditional Congress strongholds and partymen have worked hard in these constituencies over the years.

"Just as the Congress is not making any unjustified demand on seats in the areas of influence of SP, the honour and dignity of the party should also be upheld especially in areas which have great importance for us," he said.

SP holds eight of the 10 seats on Gandhi turf and has to drop sitting MLAs in favour of Congress.

Since Amethi and Rae Bareli go to polls in the 4th and 5th phase, it might take some more time for the two parties to resolve the matter.