SP-Cong pre-poll pact in UP faces rough weather

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Lucknow, Sep 17: The pre-poll pact between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha polls was still in doldrums as another UPA faction Lok Janshakti Party(LJP) of Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan has demanded a couple of seats in the state.

LJP leadership has now demanded a respectable number 8 seats from both the Congress and SP though it did not give.

The seat adjustment between the Congress and SP has, meanwhile entered a rough weather with Congress state Chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi demanding at least 25 seats for the party, including some sitting seats of the SP.

On the other hand, SP General Secretary Amar Singh has accused the Congress of ''trying to incite defection in the party in Madhya Pradesh.'' LJP state spokesperson Raj Kumar Ojha said here today that party president Ramvilas Paswan has already conveyed his interest to contest the elections within the new Congress-SP alliance.

''The LJP is preparing itself in all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state but we still want to contest under the banner of a secular front to take on the BSP and BJP in the polls,'' Mr Ojha said.

He said there was no prior condition of the party on the seat adjustment by the SP-Congress combine, but the LJP wants reasonable seats to prevent division of votes of the secular front.

The LJP has already fixed a target to have 50,000 new members in each of the 80 parliamentary seats in the state.

Tough stand taken by the Congress state leadership, however, might lead to delay in the poll pact with the SP.

Ms Joshi has clearly stated that she would not compromise with less than 25 seats and also demanded the SP's sitting seats like Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Rampur, Farrukhabad and Lucknow. The SP has already conveyed to the Congress that it was ready to give 15 to 18 seats without sparing even a single sitting seat.

The state Congress spokesman maintained that the party has even asked the SP to go for a friendly fight in some seats where there is some dispute, but they are not ready for it.

The issue is likely to thrashed out when the SP and Congress leadership meet in the near future.


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