Lucknow: Congress on Friday said it has not closed its doors for any possible grand alliance for the 2017 Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar also said that no initiative has been taken for an alliance either by his party or by any other political parties in the state.
"No initiative for an alliance, either by us or by any other party in the coming polls has been taken, but Congress has not closed its doors for any such possibility which could benefit people of the state," he said.
The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president, however, stressed that "the party will not enter into an alliance or grand alliance only for numbers, as numbers were not important in UP polls."
He defended party vice president Rahul Gandhi for his protest over alleged suicide by an army veteran Ram Kishan Grewal in Delhi over implementation of OROP scheme.
Babbar also hit out at Union minister V. K. Singh for his remarks about Grewal's mental health, saying he needs medical treatment as he has lost his mental balance. Asked if Congress had got invitation from Samajwadi Party for its silver jubilee function on Saturday, in which all other leaders of the prospective grand alliance have been invited, he said, he was not aware of it and it was the prerogative of the SP leaders whom to invite.
When asked whether he will attend the SP function if invited, Babbar said "If I get an invitation, I will welcome it and tell my leadership as to what has to be done." About SP Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, the UPCC chief, who was with his party before joining Congress, said he always respected the SP chief as "I am in active politics because of him and will always bow before him."
Asked will the party's 27 year of 'banvaas' end in the upcoming elections, Babbar said, he was confident that people will vote for development of the state and "BJP is all set to lose the election and Congress will put all its might to defeat the ideology which betrays farmers, soldiers and the poor."
On election strategist Prashant Kishore's recent meeting with SP chief amid ongoing efforts to form a grand alliance, Babbar said "Prashantji is not the strategist of our party but has been roped in for taking the party's ideology and what it stands for among the people in a better and effective manner using modern techniques in the polls."
To a question on Priyanka Gandhi taking part in UP elections, he said she has promised that she will give time for campaigning but details are still awaited. "We have requested Priyanka Gandhi and she has promised that she will come soon. But how much time she will give and how long she will accompany us are yet to be discussed for chalking out her programme," the Congress leader said.
"Priyanka's programme will be chalked out only when she gives us time. We want her to give maximum time (for campaigning). Whenever she comes she will give confidence and energy not only to the partymen but also to the people," he said, adding that if given enough time she could be taken across all the 403 constituencies.