A day after SP-BSP gathbandhan left out Congress party from the alliance in Uttar Pradesh ahead of 2019 polls, the senior party leaders on Sunday announced that the party would go it alone on all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the upcoming general election.
However, Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Ghulam NabiAzad said that the party would accommodate any secular force that would be capable of taking on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha polls.
Speaking at the press briefing, Azad said, "The Congress will contest on all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh and defeat the BJP."
He also expressed hope that the Grand Old Party would double the tally of 21 seats it had secured in the state in the 2009 general election.
To a question on whether the Congress will forge a coalition with any other political party, Azad said, "If any party is willing to accompany the Congress and the Congress feels that it can fight the BJP, then it will definitely be accommodated."
On Saturday, Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced their alliance in Uttar Pradesh, revealing to seat-share of 38 seats each. Furthermore, they stated that they would not contest from Rae Bareli and Amethi which are the stronghold of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi respectively.
On his party being left out of the SP-BSP alliance, the Congress leader said, "We wanted that the Congress should have been a part of the Grand Alliance (against the BJP) in Uttar Pradesh. But if someone does not want to walk along, nothing can be done."
Asked whether the Congress would field candidates in seats which will be contested by BSP supremo Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav (since the SP-BSP alliance will not field nominees from Rae Bareli and Amethi), Azad did not give any clear answer.
On the possibility of a post-poll alliance with the SP and the BSP, he said at the national level, the Congress would welcome all the secular regional parties. Replying to another question on the SP-BSP tie-up, Azad said, "The Congress workers are not at all disappointed on being left out of the alliance".
On the possibilities of an alliance with the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Azad said he would not like to speak to the media about it.
(With PTI inputs)