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MP polls: Congress may ally with SP to counter BJP

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India], May 24 :
The Congress Party on Thursday hinted that it is willing to forge an alliance with other "like-minded" parties to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming Madhya Pradesh assembly election.

Addressing the media here, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath said, "In the past, we had an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) during Uttar Pradesh elections. We will talk to them (other parties) on possibilities of an alliance for Madhya Pradesh elections."

It may be recalled that the Congress and SP had formed a pre-poll alliance in a bid to prevent BJP from winning during the Uttar Pradesh assembly election last year.

However, the BJP won with a brute majority, capturing 325 seats in the 403-state assembly. The Congress and SP alliance won just 54 seats.

Explaining the reason for considering an anti-BJP coalition, Nath said, "In the 2014 election, BJP had received 31 percent of the votes polled and 69 percent of the votes were against him. Despite this, the BJP claims the public mandate was with them. We do not want the secular vote to be divided, so we will start discussions with parties soon."

Nath's comments came after the swearing-in ceremony of newly elected Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Wednesday marked a rare occasion where opposition parties from all over the country set aside their differences to join hands in a show of might against the BJP-led Central government.

Newly-appointed co-ordination committee chairman of Madhya Pradesh and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh asserted that his main aim was to ensure Congress' victory in the state assembly election.

The BJP has been in power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003. However, it is facing a considerable anti-incumbency as evidenced by the recent civic poll results. The Congress is looking to wrest back power in a bid to remain politically relevant ahead of the next year's general elections.

In the civic polls declared in January, both the BJP and Congress won an equal number of seats in 19 urban local bodies in Madhya Pradesh. In terms of voting percentage, both the parties achieved equal 43 percent votes.

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