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Congress Secures Raebareli, Amethi, Varanasi In 17-Seat Pact With Akhilesh Yadav In UP

Congress and Samajwadi Party agreed on Congress contesting 17 seats in UP, prompting speculation about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's debut in Rae Bareli. Akhilesh Yadav conceded crucial seats like Varanasi and Amethi. The seat-sharing talks faced deadlock due to AAP and Trinamool's alliances. Despite initial setbacks, a pivotal conversation between Akhilesh and Priyanka facilitated the agreement, with Congress gaining key constituencies like Sitapur and Barabanki.

Edited By : Aniket Raj | Updated: Feb 21, 2024 20:52 IST
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Congress and the Samajwadi Party leadership have finalized an agreement for Congress to contest 17 seats in Uttar Pradesh, indicating that the Samajwadi Party will not field candidates in these constituencies. This decision has sparked speculation once again about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra possibly making her electoral debut from Rae Bareli, a Congress stronghold. With Sonia Gandhi transitioning to the Rajya Sabha, Rae Bareli’s significance for the Congress is evident, and ensuring no SP candidate in the fray could be a strategic move to safeguard the party’s interests in the region.

In the seat-sharing agreement between Congress and Samajwadi Party, Congress will be contesting from 17 seats. These seats include Rae Bareli, Amethi, Fatehpur Sikri, Saharanpur, Prayagraj, Maharajganj, Varanasi, Amroha, Jhansi, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Sitapur, Barabanki, Kanpur, Bansgaon, and Deoria.

Rae Bareli, Amethi, and Varanasi are three significant constituencies that Akhilesh Yadav has conceded to the Congress. Varanasi holds importance as the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while Amethi gained attention when Rahul Gandhi lost it to BJP’s Smriti Irani in the 2019 elections. Rae Bareli, formerly held by Sonia Gandhi until she stepped down for health reasons and moved to the Rajya Sabha, is another key seat in this arrangement.

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The seat-sharing negotiations within the INDIA bloc faced a stalemate due to the presence of AAP in Punjab and Delhi, and Trinamool Congress aligning with the Congress. Initially, Akhilesh Yadav offered 11 seats, which later increased to 15, and finally, the final offer stood at 17 seats. However, Akhilesh firmly insisted on the 17-seat arrangement and declared that he would participate in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra only after the Congress finalized the deal.

Insiders suggest that the initial offer extended to the Congress lacked appeal, with seats where the chances of winning were slim. However, a pivotal telephone conversation between Akhilesh Yadav and Priyanka Gandhi facilitated the agreement. As a result, the Congress secured Sitapur and Barabanki. In the Moradabad division, although the Congress initially sought two seats, it eventually settled for Amroha alone.

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First published on: Feb 21, 2024 08:52 PM IST

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