In an indication of the uneasy relationship between Samajwadi Party and the Congress, a senior leader of the ruling party today said the tie-up with the Sonia Gandhi-led party for Uttar Pradesh Assembly election was one of "compulsion."
Exclusively speaking to India TV, SP national vice-president Kiranmoy Nanda said the tie-up was done to consolidate Muslim votes after the infighting in the party.
“We had to a pre-poll alliance with the Congress because of our compulsion (majboori) after the infighting in the party. The faction war in the party had created a feeling of confusion in the Muslim community and to consolidate that vote, we had to come together,” Nanda told India TV.
He added that if the infighting had not happened, the Samajwadi Party could have easily won 250 seats.
The faction war caused us damage, Nanda said.
Congress tried to play down the “compulsion” remarks and said the West Bengal leader must have been misunderstood due to his accent.
“He must have said zaroori (necessary) but you must have understood as majboori (compulsion) since he comes from Bengal,” UP Congress chief Raj Babbar said.
Under alliance worked out by both the parties, Congress had got 105 of the 403 seats but due to delay in firming up the pact and some other issues, candidates of both parties had jumped into the fray on certain seats.
There were nearly 1 dozen seats where SP and Congress candidates are facing each other. However, both parties yesterday decided to withdraw five candidates each from seats where nominees of both parties are in the fray.
One of the most high-profile contests between SP and Congress candidates is at Amethi constituency where minister Gayatri Prajapati is facing Congress Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Sinh’s wife Ameeta Sinh.
Nanda also appealed to Congress to withdraw candidates which SP won in 2012 elections including that in Amethi and Raebareli, both Congress strongholds.
“I appeal Congress to withdraw candidates in Amethi and Raebareli where we have sitting MLAs. Only SP will win these seats,” he said.