Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Raj Babbar on Sunday held a press conference in Lucknow on party’s Uttar Pradesh strategy for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, a day after BSP chief Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav announced their Uttar Pradesh alliance for 2019 polls, leaving no space for the Congress. At the party headquarters in Lucknow, Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Congress party will contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. The Opposition leader said preparations for 2019 polls has begun now as Parliament’s winter session has ended. 

Nabi further said the Congress party welcomes anti-BJP alliances for 2019 polls, however, 2019 polls will be a direct contest between the Congress and BJP. Congress has always tried to uplift the deprived sections and minorities, he said, adding that Congress doesn’t make false promises as the BJP does. Congress has always seen that all people, irrespective of their religion, are respected and allowed to practice their faith, the Congress leader said. Congress played a pivotal role in India’s independence and the party gave India its first prime minister, he said. Nabi said India is a free country due to the Congress party.

However, the SP-BSP alliance will not field their candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, the traditions seats of Gandhi family and currently held by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi. 

Addressing a press conference in Dubai on Saturday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said his party will fight the 2019 polls in Uttar Pradesh and country with full force. Congress is planning to hold 13 rallies by its president Rahul Gandhi in 13 zones of Uttar Pradesh in February to strengthen the party ahead of crucial Lok Sabha elections.  

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