Sidelined by SP-BSP in UP, Rahul Gandhi Says 'Underestimating Congress Will be a Mistake'
File image of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi (Photo credit: ANI)

New Delhi, January 8: Sidelined by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) in the pre-electioneering process in Uttar Pradesh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi issued a stern message to the two regional parties. The Gandhi scion said those under-estimating the political strength of the Congress in UP are making a "mistake".

The Congress chief's remarks comes in the wake of confirmation issued by top SP, BSP leaders, claiming that the two parties have decided to contest on 37 seats each, leaving 2 seats for the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), 2 for the Congress and 2 for other smaller allies. Lok Sabha Elections 2019: SP, BSP Seal Seat-Sharing Pact Without Congress, Leave Two Seats For Rahul Gandhi & Sonia.

The Congress, which has marked its dissent on being left only two constituencies -- party bastion Amethi and Raebareli -- said the seat-sharing arrangement is "humiliating" and will not be accepted by its cadres.

The same view was resonated by Rahul Gandhi, while speaking to the Dubai-based Gulf News. "There are very interesting things that the Congress party can do in Uttar Pradesh... the Congress idea is very powerful for Uttar Pradesh. So, we are very confident of our ability in Uttar Pradesh and we will surprise people," he said on Tuesday -- three days before his scheduled visit to the UAE.

The Congress had clocked its last major success in UP in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, winning 20 out of the 80 parliamentary constituencies.

In 2014, however, the party was reduced to only two seats -- with Rahul Gandhi winning from Amethi and his mother Sonia Gandhi retaining Raebareli.

Entire UP was then gripped under the Narendra Modi wave, as the BJP recorded a victory in 71 constituencies -- and its ally Apna Dal bagged two seats. The Samajwadi Party was reduced to 5 Lok Sabha segments, whereas, the BSP was completely wiped out.