Pre-alliance hitch between SP, Cong continues in UP

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Lucknow, Sep 9 (UNI) Tough bargaining on sharing of seats between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress in the coming Lok Sabha elections continued in Uttar Pradesh with the state Congress today maintaining that the party will not compromise on eight seats.

''Though the SP has a vote bank in the state, the Congress has the goodwill which will be the only criterion for winning the LS seat under the alliance,'' said UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi here.

The last meeting on the electoral alliance is likely next week, where Congress president Sonia Gandhi will participate along with the senior SP leaders to finalise the pact.

Addressing a press conference, she said talks on 72 seats, of the total 80, had been finalised and discussions on rest eight seats would be completed after September 15.

''We are sticking to the eight seats, where the SP has sitting members, but the Congress has also a strong case to demand these seats,'' she said.

The Congress is demanding seats like Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Kushinagar, Rampur, Salempur and Farrukhabad, where the SP has sitting members.

Ms Joshi said, ''the Congress had even floated an idea of 'friendly contest' on eight seats in question, but the SP rejected the offer. How can we ignore winnable candidates of the party like Salman Khurshid (Farrukhabad), RPN Singh (Kushinagar), Noor Bano (Rampur) and Ms Ratna Singh (Pratapgarh).'' Without disclosing the number of seats to be contested by the Congress in the state, she said ''I am confident that the party will get honourable seats.'' Asserting that winnable candidates by respective parties was the only formula considered during the meeting between the Congress and SP on alliance, she said the Congress was not following the Bihar formula in UP.

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