Maharashtra : Congress broke alliance talks at 12.15 a.m.

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Mumbai: The Samajwadi Party (SP) in Maharashtra accused the Congress of breaking off their proposed alliance at 12.15 a.m. Saturday on the grounds that it had no authority to finalise a deal, a top party leader said.

State SP President Abu Asim Azmi said that state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre called him up at that odd hour to inform that the proposal for an alliance (with SP) was sent to party President Sonia Gandhi.

Without the approval of the Congress high command, Thakre reportedly said he could not take any decision in the matter.

“This was blatant backstabbing the SP, especially since today was the final day of filing nominations,” fumed Azmi at a media conference Saturday evening.

He demanded to know when Thakre claimed lack of authority, why did the party assure an alliance between Congress-SP and then abandon them at the last minute.

“It is clear that there are RSS supporters within the Congress who are pursuing the RSS agenda to prevent secular forces from uniting for the Oct. 15 elections,” Azmi alleged.

The SP chief said that to avoid a division in the secular votes, he had approached the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with a proposal for sharing 15 seats.

“We had sought eight seats from Congress and seven from NCP. After their alliance collapsed we asked Congress for the eight seats which Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had assured would be given,” Azmi said.

He pointed out that after the May 2014 Lok Sabha outcome, secular forces around the country are uniting, as in the case of the recent by-elections in various states.

However, Azmi rued it was only in Maharashtra where this has not been possible as the Congress tried to browbeat the SP and even sabotaged the latter’s attempts to field suitable candidates within the deadline.

Nevertheless, he said, SP would try to contest the maximum number of seats this time to keep “communal forces” at bay.

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