SP says will not give up seats with sitting MPs for Cong

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New Delhi, Sep 5 (UNI) Indicating that there were some problems in a seat-sharing agreement with the Congress, the Samajwadi Party (SP) today made it clear that it would not concede to the ruling party at the Centre those Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh where it had sitting MPs.

The two parties, which recently became allies during the crisis on the nuclear deal, had held their first meeting on poll alliance for the coming Lok Sabha elections this week.

Party General Secretary Amar Singh said the constituencies for which the SP would not give up its claim included Rampur, Pratapgarh, Farrukhabad, Padrauna and Allahabad.

''However, we are ready to accommodate Mr Jatin Prasad, whose Shahjahanpur seat has been declared as reserved in the delimitation process,'' said Mr Singh at a 'Meet the Press Programme' organised by the Press Club of India.

The SP could give him Dharaura seat and withdraw from Shahjahanpur, he said.

He said he could not ask people like Ms Jaya Prada, the Rampur MP, Mr Reoti Raman Singh, who defeated Mr Murali Manohar Joshi of the BJP from Allahabad, and Padrauna MP Baleashar Yadav, who supported the UPA in the trust vote, to withdraw.

Mr Singh sought to remind that UPA ally Rashtriya Janata Dal headed by Mr Lalu Prasad had conceded only four out of 40 seats in Bihar. ''So if we go by the Lalu Model, we should leave only eight seats for the Congress, and if we go by the results of 2004 Lok Sabha elections, we should leave 12 seats for the party,''.

Mr Singh said that even if no agreement was reached with the Congress, his MPs would be left with no choice but to support the UPA, as they could go with the BJP or any Left-supported alliance.

In that situation, the SP would not contest against Congress President Sonia Gandhi and AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi in Amethi and Rae Bareily constiuencies, he reiterated.

Replying to a question about his party's demand in regard to other states, the SP General Secretray said his party would like the Congress to show the same concession as it was demanding of it in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr Singh also indicated that he was ready to mend the fences with Mr Beni Prasad Verma and Mr Raj Babbar if they changed their attitude in the present context.

''I have tried to correct my past by the circumstances of the present, so if Mr Beni Prasad Verma and Mr Raj Babbar also tried that, we would consider it,'' he said.

Replying to a quesion about ex- Congressman Natwar Singh, he said his party was not taking him because of two reasons. First was the party's new relationship with the Congress and secondly because the former Congress leader had said he could shake hands with the BJP if needed, and he had infact voted for Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in the Presidential elections.

UNI NAZ SKB HT1612

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