Akhilesh Yadav demands seat-sharing pact for attending Rahul Gandhi’s Congress rally

| Updated: 19 February, 2024 6:25 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Akhilesh Yadav said on Monday that his party will join Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Nyay Yatra once the seat-sharing pact between the two parties is firmly inked.

Speaking to the media, Akhilesh Yadav disclosed that discussions between the SP and the Congress are progressing well, with both parties having exchanged lists pertaining to the seat-sharing arrangement.

“At present, negotiations are underway, lists have been received from their end, and we have reciprocated. As soon as the seat allocation is finalised, the SP will readily join their Nyaya Yatra,” said Akhilesh Yadav.

Earlier, during an interview, Yadav conveyed to India Today TV that Rahul Gandhi’s insistence on particular candidates and constituencies has led to a delay in finalising the seat-sharing agreement.

Although discussions involving Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, and Mallikarjun Kharge persist, a conclusive decision is yet to materialise.

Kharge had previously extended an invitation to Akhilesh Yadav, urging the SP to participate in Rahul Gandhi’s yatra either in Amethi or Raebareli. Subsequently, Yadav accepted the invitation.

Notably, the SP withdrew from contesting the 2019 elections for the Amethi and Raibareli seats, leading to the ongoing dispute with the Congress over the seat-sharing arrangement.

Initially, the SP was prepared to allocate 11 seats to the Congress out of Uttar Pradesh’s total 80 Lok Sabha seats. However, according to media sources, this number has now been raised to 15 seats by the SP.

The SP stands firm on its decision to allocate no more than 15 seats to the INC, emphasising that Congress cannot vie for any of the remaining 65 seats in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Nevertheless, the Congress has yet to accede to this condition.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh expressed on Sunday, “I anticipate his (Akhilesh Yadav’s) participation in the Yatra tomorrow. Previously, Apna Dal leader Pallavi Patel also joined the yatra.”

SP and the Congress are allies in the INDIA bloc. The outcome of the seat-sharing discussions between the two holds significant importance, particularly following the breakdown of similar negotiations with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has opted to contest alone in her state.

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