17 Congress MLAs from Uttar Pradesh urged Vice-President Rahul Gandhi to join secular forces for the assembly elections in 2017 after Samajwadi Party’s UP President Shivpal Yadav hinted an alliance. Yadav had hinted at an alliance with the RLD and Congress to stop the “communal forces” in the state. Pradip Mathur, Congress’s Legislature Party Leader told the IE that most of the MLAs extended their support for a pre-poll alliance after which Rahul Gandhi informed them that their opinion would be considered as top priority. Since it is very evident that that BSP looks in no mood for an alliance, the other possible alliance remains to be RLD and SP. Sources also informed the IE that Gandhi initially met with all the 17 MLAs individually and later addressed them collectively. He also wanted to know the impact of his Kisan Yatra in the state.
Sources also said that a few MLAs seemed unhappy about not being able to maintain a momentum during the Yatra. While others were of the opinion that the yatra and the loan-waiver forms that the Congress has been distributing throughout the state will return great dividends. It has to be noted that of the 29 Congress MLAs in the state, 9 have already changed sides with the BJP, with the latest being state party president Rita Bahuguna Joshi. AICC general secretary of UP, Ghulam Nabi Azad and state President Raj Babbar were also present during Rahul Gandhi’s address.
Earlier SP leader Shivpal Yadav had said that his party was prepared to make any sacrifices to stop communal forces from prevailing in the state. He had said that they would bring in all the “Lohiawadi, Chaudhary Charan Singhwadi and Gandhiwadi” parties under the same roof. Although, Congress sources informed that the high command was facing a serious dilemma over the pre-poll alliance as the party has been a nasty battle with the SP over the last 5 years. It is also speculated that Congress leaders feel that an alliance with the SP will push them into the same well of anti-incumbency sentiment as the Akhilesh government.