Congress not averse to poll pact with SP

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Lucknow, Jun 18 (UNI) Even as the Samajwadi Party has denied any alliance with the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls, Uttar Pradesh Congress leaders said they were not averse to any electoral pact in the elections.

UP Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi said here today party workers have informed the High Command and authorised them about the electoral pact with secular parties after the BSP's hobnobbing with the NDA.

''There is no doubt about the secular instinct of Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and now after Mr L K Advani has been projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA we have to strengthen the secular front in the country,'' she said without referring to any direct hint about the SP-Congress alliance in the state.

Ms Joshi said it was up to the High Command to decide about the alliance but all the Congressmen in the state do not want Chief Minister Mayawati to be close to the party after her relationship with the BJP came to light.

Earlier in the day, SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav had denied that his party would go for pre-poll alliance with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh though he maintained that his party would make all efforts to strengthen the secular forces to gain power at the Centre.

Ms Joshi, who returned from New Delhi this morning, told mediapersons here that by July-end the state party unit will send the panel of the candidates for all the 80 Lok Sabha seats to the High Command, urging it to announce the names of the candidates at least six months prior to the polls.

''During our survey, it was found that the Congress can win 20 seats while in 15 other seats, party candidates have a good chance,'' she claimed.

She said very soon the new UPCC committee would be announced with certain changes in view of the Lok Sabha polls. Several new faces would get entry in the committee but some old Congressmen would also be accomodated taking into consideration their experiences and contribution towards the party, Ms Joshi added.

UNI MB/SB HS NS1710

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