LUCKNOW: With the anti-BJP grand alliance yet to take shape in Uttar Pradesh to stop the saffron surge, the Congress has identified 24 seats and has started working on them with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Though the SP-BSP parleys on seat sharing are on for a grand alliance, the scenario is still hazy. Meanwhile, the Congress has preferred to make its choices clear for partners. It has also started work on seats it perceives as winnable.
“We will not be rigid on these seats. We are ready to make our share of compromises and sacrifices, but till the alliance takes shape we have to start our groundwork,” said a senior UP Congress Committee (UPCC).
“Till the picture gets clear, we can’t sit idle. So we have started mobilising our cadre to start working for the big battle,” said a senior leader, adding that the Congress identified candidates for those seats on which its performance in 2014 was better than the rest of the state.
As per UPCC sources, the seats on the list include Amethi, Rae Bareli, Sultanpur, Barabanki, Dhaurhara, Pratapgarh, Kanpur, Unnao, Kushinagar, Moradabad, Bareilly, Lucknow, Varanasi, Allahabad, Farrukhabad, Saharanpur, Jaunpur, Mathura, Faizabad and Fatehpur Sikri, etc.
In the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls, the party secured only a little over 2 per cent votes and came at number three and four places, respectively.
The Congress feels a formal announcement on the grand alliance will come only after the results of MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan polls.
The local leadership has been strictly forbidden to make statements on the grand alliance till it takes concrete shape. “Sometimes casual statements given by the leaders hamper party prospects,” explained another UPCC member.
However, UPCC chief Raj Babbar believes any decision on the grand alliance would be taken by the high command keeping national perspective in view.