Women at a polling station in the final phase of the general election in Varanasi
Election [Representational image]Reuters

The Congress has decided to go it alone in the 2017 Assembly elections, following a meeting of Uttar Pradesh Congress Working Committee members, and Congress ex-ministers and MPs, at Himachal Bhawan in New Delhi on Saturday.

Speaking to IBTimes India on Sunday, UP Congress functionary Subodh Srivastava explained the rationale behind the decision.

"The Congress is looking to strengthen its position at the grass-root level in Uttar Pradesh, and we believe this is what is going to help us," said the chairman of the UP Congress' advertisement & publication department.

"The last time we fought the Assembly elections in UP, it was with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). We do not see a similar ally right now," he said.

"The people of UP are unhappy with the two biggest regional parties in the state: the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party," added Srivastava.

However, nothing is written in stone. "The elections are still 1.5 years away, during which we will continue to work to strengthen the state unit of the Congress. If, during this time, circumstances change, decisions will change as well," said Srivastava.

It may be noted that the Congress and the RLD had together won a mere 37 seats in the 2012 UP Assembly elections, which was even less than the 40 the BJP had won back then.