UP polls: Congress speaks in different voices on post-poll ties


Shreya Dhoundial,CNN-IBN
Mar 04, 2012 at 08:00pm IST

New Delhi: A day after exit polls across channels a majority for the Samajwadi Party, the Congress on Sunday spoke in different voices on the possibility of post-poll alliance in Uttar Pradesh.

The biggest surprise came from Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma, who said that the BSP would be a better ally than the Samajwadi party for the Congress.

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He said, "We are going to tie up with BSP rather than SP. SP is a party of goons, whereas, BSP works for Dalits. Dalits are better than goons."

However, UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi rejected Verma’s statement saying that it was not the view of the party. She further said that that the Congress would wait till poll results were out.

ALSO SEE Elections 2012: Clear majority forecast for Samajwadi Party in UP

"As per our view on Mayawati's governance, it has always been very clear. We have known about her bad governance. At the end of the day, our high command will take the final decision. Mr Verma's remarks are his personal opinion," said Joshi.

The Congress had earlier ruled out any post-poll alliance with either the SP or the BSP. "We would prefer to sit in Opposition," several Congress leaders had claimed.

ALSO SEE SP silent on Akhilesh Yadav's future as UP Chief Minister

The Samajwadi Party, meanwhile, refused to comment on the issue arguing that he could not say anything before March 6, which is when the vote-counting begins.

Referring to the controversy surrounding the Chief Ministerial candidate of the party, the SP further claimed that its CM candidate was Mulayam rather than his son Akhilesh.

When asked whether Akhilesh would be made the chief minister, party leader Shahid Siddiqui said the question was "still open".

"It (Akhilesh Yadav becoming the chief minister) is an open question," said Siddiqui. He added, "Akhliesh Yadav can, of course, become the CM... He has got all the talent and all the support of the people. But it always is an open question... Decisions are not taken pre-poll... They are taken post-poll and they should be taken post-poll as we believe in some kind of democracy."

However, party leader Shivpal Yadav said that Mulayam was the only contender to be the chief minister of the state.

He said, "There is only one leader in the party and that is Mulayam Singh."

Yadav also claimed the SP would not need any support to form a government.

In what is most likely to be one of its biggest electoral victories in UP in the last 20 years, the SP is bound to surprise by garnering an impressive 34 per cent of the votes in the Assembly elections 2012, a CNN-IBN-The Week post-poll survey conducted by CSDS has shown. It said that a vote-share of 34 per cent for the SP would mean the party will steer clear of its rivals and remain ahead by an unprecedented 10 per cent of the total votes polled in UP.

In the four-cornered battle for UP, other parties are far behind the SP in terms of vote share. The survey said the BSP might have a vote share of 24 per cent as opposed to 30 per cent in 2007, BJP 14 per cent as opposed to 17 in 2007 and the Congress will finish at the fourth position with an estimated 12 per cent vote share compared to 13 per cent in 2007.

Interestingly, Rahul Gandhi, despite the Congress' bad performance in the survey, remains a favourite with the voters. Thirty eight per cent of the voters surveyed said they had more faith in Rahul, as compared to the 21 per cent that said it trusted Akhilesh Yadav more.

Mulayam Singh Yadav was the top choice for the Chief Minister's post with 34 per cent of the voters opting for the SP chief, as opposed to Mayawati (22 per cent) and Rahul Gandhi (8 per cent).

Despite the wave, only 2 per cent of the voters wanted Akhilesh as the CM of the state.

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