Claiming that he was "unaware" of any parleys on an alliance between the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, UPCC chief Raj Babbar on Friday said there will be "no alliance at the cost of honour and respect of party workers".The yesteryear's Bollywood actor made light of the release by SP of two lists of 209 candidates, including on nine seats with sitting Congress legislators, saying "every party is within its rights to do so"."I have come here to sign Form B of my party's candidates," he told media persons here.The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) President said his party is a votary of an alliance with "like-minded smaller groups like the Peace Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal". Earlier on Friday, the Samajwadi Party released within a period of few hours its first and second lists of 209 candidates for the assembly elections.
The alliance talks between the two parties hit turbulence in the evening when the SP released the names of party candidates for nine seats where Congress won in the 2012 assembly polls. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has already declined to a tie-up with Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal, upsetting the state Congress leaders.As for SP Vice-President Kironmoy Nanda's statement that the Congress deserved not more than 54 seats, Babbar said: "The Congress deserves the love of the people."The Congress is asking for 100-plus seats, something which the SP is now reluctant to give. SP mentor Mulayam Singh Yadav is dead against any tie-up with the Congress but a group in the ruling dispensation is advocating it to ensure that the Muslim vote is not divided.State Congress leaders are miffed over the attitude of SP counterparts and do not want to play second fiddle to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Raj Babbar especially shares cold relationship with the SP, specially the Yadav clan.
While he began his political innings in the SP many years ago, he had a bitter fallout as he defeated Dimple Yadav, wife of Akhilesh Yadav, in a Lok Sabha by-poll from Firozabad as a Congress candidate. The wounds are still fresh in the minds of the SP leadership, insiders say.With Akhilesh in full command of his party and his detractors falling in line, he is now learnt to be in a mood to play hard ball with the Congress. "If things do not work out, we will say we tried our best for the alliance but we are willing to go alone as well," said a SP strategist close to the Chief Minister.Elections to the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly will be held in seven phases from February 15 to March 8. The counting of votes will be taken up on March 11.