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Cong & SP to carry on seat-sharing talk

New Delhi, Mon, 08 Sep 2008 NI Wire

Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP) are yet again around the table to take forward their seat-sharing negotiations ahead of the next assembly elections. Both parties had already made substantial progress during their first round talk (Sep 1) though there was difference over some particular seats.

During the first-round talk on Sep 1, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh had announced to field no candidate in Rae Bareli and Amethi as both constituencies are under Congress dominance with mandate for Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi respectively.

The three-member party delegation led by Congress general Secretary Rahul Gandhi will today meet Amar Singh for further negotiations. Some hard bargain is expected as SP is in no mood to vacate the seats that the party had won in 2004 assembly elections. SP will also seek seats from outside Uttar Pradesh especially in Maharastra, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka where Congress is in a better position.

On the other hand, as per speculations, Congress will try to put pressure over SP to leave the three contesting Lok Sabha seats including crucial Allahabad from where SP Member of Parliament Rewati Raman Singh had won the last Lok Sabha poll.

Amar Singh during the first round talk had pressed on an agreement based on the 2004 Lok Sabha elections while Congress categorically stated that the result of 2004 general and 2007 assembly elections shouldn’t be the sole criteria for seat sharing, albeit it should be on the basis of new delimitation of constituencies.

Congress, the mightiest national party of India, has only 9 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, the biggest state in terms of constituency that sends 80 MPs into Lok Sabha.

BSP, the largest party in the UP assembly and currently in power, had last month pulled out its support from the UPA government at the crucial time when UPA had to go through a power test in the Lok Sabha.

Thus, the Congress that is weedy in the state had to seek support of one-time rival SP to save the government and in turn both agreed to fighting the next Lok Sabha election that is scheduled in the next year and the primary aim of both the parties is to defeat BSP.

SP has however, announced that whatever be the outcome of this seat-sharing negotiations, it would be continuing its support to the UPA government.

Earlier, at the end of the first round of talk, SP had denied to leave 25 Lok Sabha constituencies for Congress and said that Congress should not ask more than 15 to 17 seats.

Besides, SP is also eying to 30 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh where next assembly election is going to be held on November this year, and at present SP has only 8 seats in the MP state assembly.

As per sources, if the negotiations of seat-sharing become successful, the final list of seat-sharing would likely to be declared by the end of October.

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