The proposed Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance is likely to be announced on Friday even as negotations, primarily over seat-sharing, continued till late on Thursday night. Highly placed sources told TOI that while SP was ready to set aside 103 seats for Congress, the latter was pushing for more. However, they had reached a consensus on one point that the Rashtriya Lok Dal would be out of the pre-poll coalition.
In 2012 elections, the SP had contested on 393 seats and won 224 while the Congress contested 355 and won 28. Although a Bihar-like mahagathbandhan has not been worked out here, it has been agreed between the two parties that on some seats SP candidates will contest on the Congress symbol. In Bihar elections last year, some JDU candidates were fielded on the Congress ticket to increase the strike rate.
The two parties have also worked out a formula for the Gandhi bastions of Amethi and Rae Bareli. Accordingly , the Congress will contest on four seats in each district whi le the SP on the remaining one. Apart from their core vote base, the two parties are likely to focus on youth, women and Muslims to increase their tally beyond 202 in the 403-strong UP Assembly . Joint campaigns featuring chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, his wife Dimple, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his sis ter Priyanka Vadra are being planned, says an SP leader, adding, “All of them are young with unblemished record and enjoy mass appeal. It will be a game-changer.