Lucknow, Feb 13 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday announced an alliance with a regional outfit, Mahan Dal, for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh. The two parties had fought the 2014 elections in alliance wherein the Mahan Dal had fielded candidates from Nagina, Budayun and Etah. The party had lost all the three seats.
The announcement of the alliance was made in the presence of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia and UPCC chief Raj Babbar.
The regional outfit has some clout in western UP. Sources say the Congress is trying to forge similar alliances with other smaller parties because its own organisational structure was in a shambles.
Priyanka Gandhi has been tasked with looking after 41 seats in eastern Uttar Pradesh while Scindia has been assigned 39 parliamentary constituencies by the Congress president. The two have been meeting party’s grassroots workers for the past three days and taking feedback on the ground realities.
Founder president of the Maha Dal, Keshav Dev Maurya, said the coming together of the two parties will be a winner combination and that many backward castes would support the alliance.
The two sides would soon finalize seat arrangements, sources said.
After holding marathon meetings with old party leaders, loyalists and workers from several districts, Congress leaders said the contest was between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi and not Priyanka.
“My focus is on strengthening the party organisation in the state and to ensure that we win, the ‘muqabla’ is between Rahul and Modi and not me,” she said.
She also made light of the ongoing questioning of her husband Robert Vadra by Enforcement Directorate (ED) and said that such things will continue and that she was focussing on the assignment given to her by the Congress president.
“These things don’t affect me,” she replied with a smile when asked whether the ongoing investigations against her husband and mother-in-law bothered her.