New Delhi: A formal announcement of Congress-
RLD alliance in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh is likely this week
with the two parties almost finalising seat sharing.
Congress, which has already declared candidates for 135
seatsin the first two lists, is expected to release the third
list by the first week of November after a meeting of the
Congress Election Committee on October 31.
Rahul Gandhi will be addressing election rallies in Uttar
Pradesh after the third list is out. He kicks off his election
campaign from his great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru`s
constituency Phulpur on November 14, Nehru`s 122nd birth
The Congress Screening meeting to finalise candidates is
scheduled on Saturday (October 29).
Congress had released its first list of 73 candidates in
August itself while the names of 62 candidates were announced
in first week of October.
A crucial meeting on the alliance issue took place on
Wednesday in which AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh and
party`s screening committee in-charge for the state Mohan
Prakash had detailed deliberations with the RLD chief Ajit
The meeting took place a day after Rahul had
deliberations with UP Congress leaders over the issue of
sharing of seats with RLD which wields considerable influence
in Western UP.
When contacted, Mohan Prakash said talks happened in a
"cordial" manner. After the meeting Digvijay Singh had told
agency last night "most of the issues have been resolved in
today`s meet". RLD, which was demanding close to 70 seats
earlier, may settle for 40 to 50 seats.
Polls in the state for the 403-member assembly are due in
April next year. The Assembly has to be constituted by May 13.
Once the alliance is formally in place, Ajit Singh is
expected to find his way into the union council of ministers
but the issue of portfolio is yet to finalized.
There are talks that Singh could be given the Industry
portfolio, sources said.
A senior Congress leader, however, refused to go into
speculation about the ministryship issue saying their mandate
is to negotiate seats and the ministryship issue could be
tackled at a higher level.
Asked about reports that Ajit Singh wanted the Congress
either to withdraw candidates from some of the seats announced
for be prepared for friendly contests on them, a senior
Congress leader said,"there will no friendly fights".
After the alliance is stitched up, both parties would go
for joint campaigns not only in Western UP but across the
state, he said.