CBMs: Cong-SP not to field candidates against first families

With the parties still struggling to come to a consensus over the fine-print governing their pre-poll alliance in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party on Friday attempted to inspire confidence in the Congress by saying; it would not field candidates against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her parliamentarian son Rahul.

The announcement, made by SP chief Mulayam Singh, has touched off speculations of whether or not the confidence building measures would translate into a full alliance between the two.

Mulayam, on a tour of his native Saifai village on Thursday, expressed optimism over a pre-poll deal with the Congress and added SPO would not contest the Rae Bareli and Amethi constituencies represented by Sonia and Rahul.

Singh added that a failure to work out an alliance would witness a friendly fight between the two parties.

Analysts say the phrase, a latent addition to India’s democratic lexicon, could translate into keeping the rhetoric low and toned down so as not to hurt future partnership prospects.

During the 2004 general elections, the SP did not field a party candidate from Amethi constituency, which was then represented by Sonia Gandhi.

Meanwhile, the Congress has returned the goodwill gesture by saying party candidates would not be fielded against Mulayam Singh and son Akhilesh Yadav.

Mulayam contested the last parliamentary polls from Mainpuri while Akhilesh represented the people of Kannauj in parliament.

The CBMs, however, did not stop SP general secretary, Amar Singh, from digging in his heels over seat sharing with the Congress.

Singh on Friday said his party cannot offer more than 17 seats in Uttar Pradesh to the Congress, the statement comes as a surprise as the Congress has already declared a list of 24 candidates for the polls.

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