The Congress party will contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats at stake in Uttar Pradesh in the coming General Elections, the party veteran and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said here on Sunday.
Talking to media persons, Azad, also the party's in-charge for UP affairs, said: "We will fight on all 80 seats of Uttar Pradesh in the coming Lok Sabha elections. We are fully prepared. And just like the Congress emerged number one party in Uttar Pradesh in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, we will fight on our own and win twice those number of seats in the upcoming elections."
"We did not break this alliance. The public should know that. We had earlier also said that we are ready to walk with every party that wants to defeat the BJP. But we cannot force anyone. They have (SP-BSP) closed this chapter. So we will continue this fight for defeating the BJP on our own," he said further. UPCC chief Raj Babbar was also present on the occasion.
Azad's announcement comes close on the heels of Congress president Rahul Gandhi's statement during a media conference in Dubai on Saturday that his party would contest the coming Lok Sabha elections with "full force" in Uttar Pradesh.
Rahul's comment had come hours after the SP and the BSP announced a tie-up to take on the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in 2019 General Elections.
"The Congress party has tremendous to offer to the people of Uttar Pradesh. I have tremendous respect to the leaders of BSP and SP. They have a right to do what they want to do. The BSP and SP have made a political decision. It's on us on how to strengthen the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh and we will fight with our full capacity," Rahul had told media in Dubai on Saturday.
As per the alliance, the SP and the BSP will contest on 38 seats each, while they will not field their candidate against Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli. They have also kept two seats for the smaller parties.
During the press conference to announce the alliance in Lucknow on Saturday, Mayawati said that neither the SP nor the BSP would benefit by allying with the Congress. She also said that there was not much difference between the Congress and the BJP.
"Many a time, we have seen similarities between the Congress and the BJP. For example, in the defence sector, we are seeing how both indulged in corruption (Bofors and Rafale). Congress imposed declared emergency. Today there is an undeclared emergency," she said.
"Most sections of the society including scheduled castes, farmers, and the poor were unhappy with the Congress' rule. Whether the mandate goes to the Congress or the BJP, it is one and the same thing," she said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)