With the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) made the official announcement of their alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha Election in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress has called for a meeting to formulate the party's strategy on Sunday. Several senior Congress leaders including AICC in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad will take part in the meeting. Speaking to news agency PTI, Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Anshu Awasti said, "Ghulam Nabi Azad, UPCC president Raj Babbar and other senior leaders will arrive in the state capital Sunday to hold meetings for finalising the strategy". Early in the day, in a major jolt to the Congress, BSP chief Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav threw the grand old party out of their alliance. The parties will contest 38 seats each out of the state's 80 parliamentary constituencies. However, they will not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, the strongholds of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Being asked about the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh, Ghulam Nabi Azad said he would speak on the issue only after meeting the state Congress leaders."We have been meeting the leaders district-wise for preparations in the coming elections," Azad said.
"In the last two days, we had been meeting the people of western Uttar Pradesh and from tomorrow (Sunday), we will meet party workers belonging to central and western UP. No one will say anything on it (SP-BSP alliance) today (Saturday) and whoever is speaking on it, it will be unofficial," he added.
Talking about the latest development, fornmer finance minister P Chidambaram said, "Perhaps this isn't the last word, maybe there will be some rethink as the elections approach. A truly broad-based alliance will be formed in UP. If necessary, Congress party will contest elections on its own strength".
Earlier on Friday, the Congress said that it was ready to go alone in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha Election 2019. "We are a political party and are ready to fight the coming elections alone in Uttar Pradesh," Congress media coordinator Rajiv Bakshi said, adding that the party alone have 45 seats in the Lok Sabha and it is any day many more than the regional players.
A 'mahagathbandhan' in the Lok Sabha elections needs to be built around the party having a national face. We are ready to take along like-minded parties and they can come together with us," Bakshi added.
There has been a tussle between the SP and the Congress ever since the grand old party has refused to include one of SP MLAs in the new Madhya Pradesh ministry headed by Kamal Nath. BSP leader Mayawati too has threatened to withdraw its support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan if the cases against lower caste people lodged during a protest in 2018 are not taken back.
In the recently concluded 2018 Assembly polls, the Congress managed to cross the majority mark in Madhya Pradesh only with the support of SP, BSP, and Independent candidates. While Congress, in a nerve-wracking see-saw battle with the BJP, bagged 114 seats, the SP, BSP and Independents got one, two and four seats respectively in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly.