UP Congress approves poll pact with SP

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Allahabad, Aug 28 (UNI) The highest decision-making body of the Uttar Pradesh Congress, the 38-member Coordination Committee headed by AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, today approved a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party.

The committee urged the party high command to go for a secular front in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha polls, keeping all options open for a pre-poll alliance besides expanding the alliance in other states.

The members also asked the party leadership to include all the secular parties like the Rashtriya Lok Dal(RLD) in the new front in the state.

The Congress has already announced that a meeting to firm up the alliance and discuss seat-sharing would be held with other parties, including the SP, in New Delhi on August 30-31.

Briefing mediapersons, AICC General Secretary and in-charge UP Digvijay Singh and state Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi said the committee had asked for talks with all secular parties and expansion of the alliance in other states.

They said the committee members, expressing full support for the proposed alliance with the SP, felt a secular front in the state to fight the Bahujan Samaj Party was the need of the hour.

''The members also urged the party high command to decide the modalities of the pre-poll alliance and announce the Lok Sabha candidates at the earliest to counter the BSP, as Chief Minister Mayawati had already come out with the names of her party candidates,'' Mr Singh said.

The coordination committee meeting, which was attended by 35 members, resolved to launch an agitation against the BSP rule and expose the irregularities in the electoral rolls.

''The party also decided to set up sector Congress committees comprising of 5 to 10 polling booths before the Lok Sabha polls,'' Ms Joshi added.

The committee criticised the Chief Minister for ''ignoring the severe flood situation'' in the state. Mr Gandhi and other Congress leaders are likely to visit the flood-affected districts of UP.

The meeting also flayed the state government for ''its failure'' to take action against hoarders and blackmarketeers. It also demanded a better land acquisition law to prevent ''virtual grabbing'' of agricultural land from farmers.

Ms Joshi said Congress president Sonia Gandhi would address a big kisan rally at Dadri on September 13 to address the farmers' issue.

Mr Gandhi is expected to visit the grave of his grandfather Feroze Gandhi here at Muirabad locality besides Anand Bhavan and Swaraj Bhawan before addressing a public rally at the K P College ground.

The AICC general secretary is also likely to visit Naini central jail to meet about 30 jailed NSUI activists ,who had been arrested in connection with their demand to hold the Allahabad University student union polls.

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