Left out of the SP-BSP pre-poll tie-up in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress on Sunday announced that it would go it alone on all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the State in the upcoming general election.

After a brainstorming session with senior party leaders, Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, said his party would accommodate any secular force that was capable of taking on the ruling BJP in the Lok Sabha polls.

The meeting of the Congress was held a day after the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced their alliance in Uttar Pradesh, sharing 38 seats each and leaving two seats for smaller parties. The alliance will also not contest from Rae Bareli and Amethi, leaving these seats for UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi respectively.

Not included in alliance

On his party being left out of the SP-BSP alliance, Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “The Congress should have been a part of the Grand Alliance (against the BJP) in Uttar Pradesh. But if someone does not want to walk along, nothing can be done.”

Asked whether the Congress would field candidates in seats which will be contested by BSP supremo Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav , Azad did not give any clear answer.

On the possibility of a post-poll alliance with the SP and the BSP, he said at the national level, the Congress would welcome all the secular regional parties.

“The Congress workers are not at all disappointed on being left out of the alliance. On the contrary, they are saying the party would have had to contest on 25 seats, but now it would be contesting on all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Congress president Rahul Gandhi will hold at least 13 rallies in Uttar Pradesh,” added Azad. At the joint press conference with Yadav held here on Saturday, Mayawati had said that during the Congress’s rule in the country, poverty, unemployment and corruption grew, and there were scams in defence deals.

The BSP chief had also pointed out that in the past, her party had not benefitted from seat-sharing pacts with the Congress.

Azad on Sunday accused the BJP of dividing the country for power, and claimed that the saffron party had failed to fulfil any of its poll promises.

“The coming Lok Sabha election is a battle to unite India and safeguard the democratic values,” he said.

“The Congress has been fighting for the rights of the poor, farmers, backward castes and Dalits since even before Independence and after Independence, it is following the same ideology,” he added.