A senior party functionary, who requested anonymity, said that if such an alliance, involving Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is stitched together, the party would also benefit in Jharkhand in 14 Lok Sabha seats, besides the ripple-effect benefit in states like Haryana and Punjab.
    
His refrain was that the UPA-III could become a reality if the party manages a tie-up with the parties led by Mayawati, Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan in the North.
     
The thinking in the party is that a Congress-BSP tie-up could become a formidable combination in Uttar Pradesh where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is becoming upbeat following Muzaffarnagar riots which have seen the ruling Samajwadi Party on the defensive.
        
The Congress leader said that Rahul Gandhi's visit to the relief camps in Muzaffarnagar has sent a positive message among the minorities and added that the pressure from the community could force Mayawati to go in for a tie-up with the Congress.
        
Mayawati has so far maintained that her party would not have a tie-up with any party in the Lok Sabha polls. The calculation in Congress is that once it gets its act together in the north, it would find allies in the south and some of those who have parted ways with the UPA-II could come back.
        
BJP is banking heavily on Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in its electoral strategy since naming Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi its prime ministerial candidate.
    
Congress has set up a committee under senior leader AK Antony to go into the issue of alliances. Incidentally, Antony is also the Chairman of the Drafting Committee for the resolution for the AICC meeting, which is scheduled to be held in the national capital on January 17, in order to prepare the organization for next Lok Sabha polls.
      
The AICC meeting will have only one resolution on political, social and economic issues and is expected to set the tone for the party line on alliances. The meeting is being held amid growing speculation that Rahul Gandhi could be declared the party's PM candidate.
      
Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is now the second largest constituent in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), has already declared that it will have a tie-up with the Congress in the polls.

National Conference, Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and IUML are some other constituents of the UPA-II. DMK parted ways with UPA earlier this year and Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress did the same thing last year.

(Agencies)

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