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UP polls 2017: Congress likely not to be part of ‘grand alliance

New Delhi: Even as the Samajwadi Party (SP) continued its efforts to form a “grand alliance” for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, the Congress on Friday appeared ruling itself out of it, saying there was “no movement” forward and it had “no plans” of joining it.

“As of today, there is no grand alliance, neither is there any proposal, nor any such possibility or intention,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.

Faced with a volley of questions on the issue at the party briefing, he said he could not respond to “speculation or hypothetical questions”. He was asked about the possibility of such an alliance in the wake of JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav’s meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi three days ago and with party general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday. Yadav had also met the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) Uttar Pradesh unit chief, Shivpal Yadav, on Thursday.

Interestingly, on Thursday Shivpal had hinted at a tie-up with the RLD and the Congress to stop the “communal forces” in the Assembly polls due early next year. Two days back, 17 Congress MLAs from the state had a meeting with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi where they conveyed to him that he should look at forming an alliance with the “secular forces” to fight the Assembly polls.

Since the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was reluctant to go for an alliance, the possible options put forward by most of the MLAs were the RLD and the SP. A section of Congress leaders has been saying that there is a possibility of an alliance with the “minor players” such as the RLD and the JD(U) in Uttar Pradesh.