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SP offers 11 Lok Sabha seats to Congress in UP, Akhilesh says alliance 'off to good start'

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Lucknow, Jan 27 (PTI) The Samajwadi Party on Saturday announced that it has offered 11 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, with former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav asserting that their alliance is "off to a good start".

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UP Congress president Ajay Rai said that the decision on the matter will be taken by his party's national leadership.

Yadav said in a post in Hindi on X, "Our cordial alliance with the Congress is off to a good start with 11 strong seats. This trend will move forward with the winning equation. 'INDIA' team and 'PDA' (Picchda, Dalit, Alpsankhyak) strategy will change history." Elaborating further on the developments, chief spokesperson of the Samajwadi Party Rajendra Chaudhary told PTI, "We (Samajwadi Party) have offered 11 seats to them (the Congress), so that there is a respectable mutual coordination among us, and we defeat the BJP." Chaudhary also said the party's top leadership is in continuous touch with the Congress.

He said the number of seats offered, which stands at 11 now, is not likely to go up in the future.

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"We have given 11 seats to the Congress (in UP) and seven seats to the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). This comes to 18 seats. The SP will contest 62 seats in the Lok Sabha election," the chief spokesperson of SP said.

Another senior Samajwadi Party leader Rajpal Kashyap, when asked to name the 11 seats offered by the SP to the Congress, told PTI, "The names of the seats cannot be revealed now." Meanwhile, reacting to the post of Akhilesh Yadav on X, Rai said, "The decision on the tweet (post on X) of Akhilesh Yadav will be taken by our national leadership (the committee formed under the leadership of Mukul Wasnik).

"Talks are going on in a very positive and good environment, and soon a strong result is going to come." Asked about Yadav's remarks, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said at a press conference in Delhi that senior leader Ashok Gehlot is holding talks with the SP chief over seat-sharing and it is taking place in a positive and constructive environment.

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"We will inform you once a formula is finalised," he said.

The agreement that will be reached in Uttar Pradesh will be beneficial for the Congress, the SP and the INDIA bloc, he said.

Taking a jibe at the opposition, UP's Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in a post on X said, "By the time, the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra of the unprecedented ('abhootpoorv') Congress leader Shri Rahul Gandhi is completed, it will be 'the end' of the INDI Alliance! "Modi government for the third time." Uttar Pradesh sends 80 members to Lok Sabha and general elections are due in April-May.

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In the current Lok Sabha, the Samajwadi Party has three MPs and the Bahujan Samaj Party has 10 MPs. Sonia Gandhi is the lone Congress MP from the state representing Rae Bareli constituency. The Apna Dal (Sonelal) has two MPs. The BJP has 64 MPs from the state.

Earlier, on January 19, the Samajwadi Party and RLD announced their alliance for the Lok Sabha polls, with the latter saying that the other party will leave seven seats in western Uttar Pradesh for its nominees.

Saturday's development comes amid strong indications that Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar may do yet another volte-face and return to the BJP-led NDA, dealing a blow to the INDIA opposition bloc. PTI NAV KSS KSS RT

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