The Samajwadi Party on Sunday announced a pre-poll alliance with the Congress for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections. Representatives of the two parties made the announcement at a press conference in Lucknow on Sunday evening. The Congress will contest from 105 seats while the state party will field its members from 298 constituencies in the 403-seat Assembly, said SP leader Naresh Uttam. Their announcement follows reports that negotiations on the political pact had failed.

State Congress chief Raj Babbar said the alliance was aimed at defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party, and for the development of the state.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had earlier released his party’s manifesto at an event in Lucknow, though his father and Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and uncle Shivpal Yadav skipped the event. The chief minister urged voters to give his party another chance to govern the state.

Yadav had also used the opportunity to take a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of “achhe din” (good days), the chief minister said the Centre might now consider granting funds and incentives to the state in the Budget since the elections were round the corner.

Reports that the tie-up had hit a rough patch were doing the rounds after the Samajwadi Party declared candidates for seven Assembly seats that the Congress currently holds. On Saturday, ruling party legislator Abu Azmi said, “An alliance breaks when a party asks for seats that are beyond its capability.”

On January 17, Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had announced that his party would fight the Uttar Pradesh elections in alliance with the Samajwadi Party under the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav. The details about the alliance would be announced in the coming days, he had said.

Uttar Pradesh polls will be held in seven phases from February 11. Counting of votes will happen on March 11.