Behind the scenes: How SP-Congress struck the deal for the UP elections
On Saturday, it appeared as though the talks had broken down and both the parties had given up hopes for an alliance. However, on Sunday the announcement was made that the Congress and the SP would fight the UP polls together.
The problem was not only about seat sharing. Akhilesh Yadav was unhappy that the Congress had sent ‘light weights’ to the negotiation table. Akhilesh was also unhappy that the Congress had sent its strategist for talks.
The Congress’ Ahmed Patel, however, clarified that the talks did not involve ‘light weights’. He said that the talks were at the highest level with Priyanka Gandhi and Ghulam Nabi Azad.
On Saturday, after it appeared that the alliance would not be formed, the Congress reached out to Sonia Gandhi. Sources say that it was her intervention that broke the ice finally. Azad made the next move and called Ram Gopal Yadav, a colleague in the Rajya Sabha. Yadav in turn was requested to counsel Akhilesh about the alliance. This was followed by a phone call from Priyanka to Dimple Yadav. Priyanka made another call to Akhilesh, following which the deal was sealed.
After she intervened, Priyanka helped identify the constituencies in which the Congress should contest the elections. The SP felt that the Congress would be satisfied if a chunk of the constituencies falling under Amethi and Rae Bareli was given to the grand old party.
However, the Congress indicated that it wanted to contest in every region in the state. Finally, the SP decided to give the Congress 105 seats to contest.