The Congress ruled out any grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh after speculations suggested that a Bihar-like mahagathbandhan was likely to be formed in India's most populous state ahead of the assembly elections scheduled to be held in 2017.
The grand alliance of "secular" parties was suggested after a meeting between Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad and Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav on Thursday. Yadav had also met Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Shivpal Yadav and called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Speculations were also fuelled after Shivpal Yadav issued a statement saying that Mulayam Singh Yadav had authorised him to explore the possibility of a mahagathbandhan to collectively take on the "communal forces" in next year's UP elections.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, however, cleared the air saying that his party has an alliance with the JD(U) in Bihar and it is incorrect to interpret the meetings in any other way.
"Our stand is more than clear…We have been saying '27 saal, UP behal'. Rahul Gandhi's yatra is not founded on lust for power but to bring a new paradigm of politics in the state," Surjewala said on Thursday.