Congress in talks with NCP, Sharad’s JD-U faction over alliance in Gujarat 

Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Yadav.

–TMC Desk 

Gandhinagar/New Delhi, Nov 17 : The Congress party on Friday held talks with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Sharad Yadav-led faction of JD-U over a possible alliance ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections.

Senior party leaders were also closetted with Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leaders and with recently-inducted OBC community leader Alpesh Thakore in Delhi.

Despite the discussions that went on till late in the evening, the party may take a couple of days more to announce the list of candidates for the December 9 and December 14 polls.

“Discussion on almost all the seats is over. Since we are also talking to JD-U (faction led by Sharad Yadav) and NCP, and the fact that they have also shown interest in an alliance, so the list will be released in a day or two,” AICC General Secretary in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot told reporters after Congress’ Central Election Committee meeting.

“Though we have held discussions on all 182 seats, since we are forming an alliance, we may have to leave some seats. JD-U is divided into two parts. We are talking to Sharad Yadav about Chotubhai Vasava (rebel JD-U leader).

“We are also taking to NCP..we will release the list when the talks are over,” he added.

In the morning, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) declared its list of 70 candidates for the Gujarat Assembly elections.

The last day for filing of nominations is November 21 for the first phase of the state assembly elections.

On Thursday, the Aam Aadmi Party announced its second list of candidates for the contest. The AAP has so far declared 20 candidates for the elections.

The Congress has been out of power in the state for more than two decades.

Last Friday, the Congress’ Central Election Committee (CEC) had cleared the names of 70 candidates for the first phase of Gujarat polls in the meeting that was presided over by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, sources said.

Congress party’s Rajya Sabha MP, Ahmed Patel, along with some senior party leaders, held a meeting with PAAS leaders who are seeking reservation status for the Patidar community.

The leader of the PAAS group, Hardik Patel, was not present, but Dinesh Bambhania, Lalit Vasoya, Manoj Panara, Kiritbhai Patel, convenors of the group, were in Delhi for the meeting.

The Other Backward Caste (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakore also attending the meeting, the sources said.

The Congress is believed to have agreed to let Alpesh Thakore have a say in candidate selection in the Thakore-dominated seats of north Gujarat and tickets for him and his father, the sources added.

Alpesh Thakore had joined the Congress after a grand show of strength in Gandhinagar last month, at which Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi welcomed him into the party.

Alpesh, with time has gained political maturity, and initially it was speculated that he will join the saffron party. But going on his word that he will do whatever his community decides, and after the decision he joined the grand old party, in a big boost for the Congress.

The PAAS group too has pledged that whatever happens – irrespective of whether they support the Congress or not –, they will be definitely opposing the BJP. Another community leader, Jignesh Mewani representing the Scheduled Caste community has also expressed his disapproval for the saffron party.


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