UP polls: Congress distances from Beni’s view

NEW DELHI: Congress today distanced itself from Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma pitching for a post-poll alliance with BSP in Uttar Pradesh, saying it was his personal opinion. "Wh

Published: 04th March 2012 05:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:28 PM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Congress today distanced itself from Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma pitching for a post-poll alliance with BSP in Uttar Pradesh, saying it was his personal opinion.

"Whatever Verma said was his personal opinion. The party high command will take a decision after taking into account all the aspects only after results are out on March 6," Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said.

Verma had earlier in the day told a TV channel, "I personally prefer BSP to SP. Mayawati has controlled lawlessness from Kanpur to Etah. This is my personal opinion."

Congress has, however, being saying that all these years law and order situation has been worse in UP.

Asked whether he was ruling out any tie-up between Congress and BSP, Alvi said, "I do not want to answer a hypothetical question. Wait for results. Congress will take a decision when results are out and we are hopeful that results will be in our favour."

Verma's views have been rejected as personal by UP Congress Legislature Party leader Pramod Tiwari too.

Meanwhile, a Congress leader dismissed the possibility of joining hands with BSP.

"Any alliance with BSP not possible," he said on condition of anonymity.

Beni for post-poll alliance with BSP

NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh is set for a change of government, according to exit polls which have predicted a rout for Chief Minister Mayawati, triggering reactions from political parties with Union Minister and Congress leader Beni Prasad Verma pitching for a post-poll alliance with BSP.

However, neither the predicted winners nor those projected not to be doing well have accepted the exit polls in full with each contesting the findings.

Verma's views have been rejected as personal by Congress leaders including Pramod Tiwari, UP Congress Legislature Party chief, and party General Secretary Rashid Alvi.

Akhilesh Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is believed to have been the main campaigner in revival of fortunes of SP, expressed confidence that his party will get majority on its own and may not need Congress' support to form a government.

He also said his father would be the chief minister in case the party gets to form the government. He, however, parried questions on seeking support of Congress or Rahul Gandhi in case it falls short of numbers, maintaining that it all depends on the poll results.

The exit polls conducted by TV channels have projected SP in the lead in a hung house while one channel has given Yadav's party a clear majority by predicting that it may get upto 210 seats in an assembly of 403 in UP.

Star News-AC Neilson exit poll showed SP emerging as the single largest party with 183 seats, followed by BSP with 83 seats.

According to it, BJP would win 71 seats, Congress 51 and its ally RLD 11 seats. Independents and others are shown victorious in two seats each.

Headlines Today exit polls showed SP getting between 195 and 210 seats followed by BSP with 88-98 seats. It showed BJP getting 50-56 seats and Cong-RLD combine 38-42. The exit poll showed Independents and others securing 12-18 seats.

India TV-C-Voter exit poll showed SP emerging as the single largest party with 137-145 seats, closely followed by BSP with 122-130 seats. It showed BJP winning 79-87 seats, Congress-RLD winning 39-55 seats and others getting 2-10 seats.

Exit poll by News24 and Today's Chanakya showed SP winning 185 seats with an error margin of 18 seats. They predicted BSP to win 85 seats, BJP 55 and Congress 55. The error margin for the three parties was 15 seats. Others were shown getting 23 seats with an error margin of 17.

Times Now in it 'poll of polls' said while SP will bag 170 seats, BSP will get 98 followed by BJP with 68 and Congress with 55. It has given others 12 seats.

According to the TV polls, Congress is set to have a clear edge in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Manipur while in Goa, one of the channels has predicted an edge to BJP over ruling Congress.

"From the day one, we have stated that we will not support Samajwadi Party. We have had a very bad experience in 2002. Why should we do it again?," asked Congress leader Digvajay Singh said.

His party colleague Beni Prasad Verma said, "Personally, I prefer BSP in comparison to SP. Mayawati has controlled lawlessness from Kanpur to Etah." He maintained that the views expressed by him were personal.

He maintained that if no alliance in UP succeeded, then he would advocate revoting or imposition of central rule.

Attacking SP, Digvijay Singh said, "People of UP have not forgotten what they suffered in 2002-2007 (during SP rule)."

Asked if Rahul Gandhi should take the blame for Congress' showing based on the exit polls, the Congress General Secretary said, "Leadership can create a way and enthusiasm.

It is the organisation which has to convert them into votes."

On if the polls threw up a hung Assembly, Singh said, "We have never stated that we want President's rule. If we don't get majority, we would sit in the opposition benches rather than support any other party." Asked how many seats he expected Congress to win, he said, "At least one hundred."

Reacting to a report that RLD will support SP if it fell short of majority, RLD chief Ajit Singh, "There is no truth in it. It is a totally concocted and motivated story. We have an alliance with Congress. Anything that we do will be in consultation with Congress."

Voicing confidence that his party will get majority, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav said, "My father will become the chief minister if the party makes it to the mark."

To a question about whether his party would take Congress and Rahul Gandhi's support in case if fell short of numbers, Yadav said, "It all depends on election results."

His party colleague Shahid Siddiqui, who is an SP MP, said, "Who will be the chief minister (if the exit polls went right) will be decided by the parliamentary board and the legislature party under the guidance of Mulayam Sinngh Yadav, who is the tallest leader of UP."

Asked if Akhilesh Yadav can be the chief minister, he said, "It is an open question. He has got all the qualities."

Notwithstanding the exit polls prediction that put it at the fourth position in UP, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi kept a ?wait and watch? attitude about the Assembly poll results in five states set to be out on Tuesday.

"Enough elections have taught us endless number of times not to rely on exit or opinion polls. Those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat the errors of the past. We are confident (about our performance) and it is not based on quicksands of exit polls," Singhvi said.

Another party spokesman Rashid Alvi said that the party would await March six for the declaration of results as all the exit polls are telling "absolutely different stories".

"The findings of one exit poll is very different from another. One party is getting 140 seats as per one poll while as per other it is getting 210, which is almost double. How you can believe them?" he asked.

Congress is in political wilderness in Uttar Pradesh for the last 22 years following the Mandal and the Mandir surge in the Hindi belt that marginalised the party in its bastion after 1989. The demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, compounded it miseries.

The revival of the party began in the last?Lok Sabha?elections with Rahul Gandhi's focus on the state bringing 22 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats.


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