Akhilesh predicts 300-plus seats for Congress-SP alliance

Lucknow, Jan 29 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday predicted more than 300 seats in the assembly election to the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance which Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi likened to the “Ganga-Yamuna milan”.

Addressing a joint press conference with Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav said the people of Uttar Pradesh had made up their mind and were backing the newly-forged alliance to the hilt.

Asked why he had tied up with the Congress if his claims of work done in his five-year tenure were true, the 43-year-old Chief Minister said the new alliance was needed to “take ahead the good work”.

“We were and are sure of crossing the majority mark on our own. But now with the ‘hand’ joining the ‘cycle’, we are confident of crossing the 300 seats mark,” he added.

Gandhi said the Congress and Samajwadi Party were akin to the two wheels of a cycle which was moving ahead in complete harmony.

The Congress leader endorsed Akhilesh Yadav’s prediction of winning over 300 of the 403 seats and said the two parties would now on work together to defeat communal forces and the “politics of anger”.

Later, Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav took out a joint road show here.

Amidst cheering by party workers, the two leaders stood atop a specially improvised ‘rath’.

Congress activists were clearly outnumbered by Samajwadi Party supporters as they raised slogans like “Jai Akhilesh, Phir se Akhilesh.”

The 12-km road show began from Hazratganj and took the two leaders to various parts of Lucknow.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi said his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was an asset to the Congress.

Asked if Priyanka Gandhi will campaign in the staggered Uttar Pradesh election, Gandhi said: “Priyanka has been of tremendous help to me and I have been to her. Whether she campaigns or not is her choice. She is an asset to Congress.”

Asked if Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav will campaign, he said: “Campaign strategy will not be divulged now.”

Talking about Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati, the Congress leader said: “I personally respect Mayawatiji. BSP ruled the state and made a few mistakes but my respect is intact for her.

“There are a lot of differences between Mayawatiji and BJP,” he added.

“The BJP spreads anger and makes people fight. There is a threat to the nation from their (BJP) ideology. There is no threat to the nation from Mayawati’s ideology. There is no comparison between the two.”

Rahul Gandhi also said the Samajwadi-Congress alliance was like the “Ganga-Yamuna milan”.

“Ek tarah se yahan Ganga-Yamuna ka milan ho raha hai, progress ki Saraswati isme se niklegi. (This alliance is the coming together of Ganga-Yamuna. The Saraswati of progress will emerge from this).

“This is an alliance of three Ps — Progress, Prosperity and Peace — to fight the politics of anger, creating divide and making false promises.”

Gandhi said the alliance would “fight fascist forces” such as the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological parent, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Adding one more “P” to the Ps mentioned by Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav said: “Let me add the fourth P. This will be People’s alliance.”

Both leaders said their personal and political relations had got better after the alliance was forged to fight the seven-phase election beginning on February 11.

“Our alliance will make Uttar Pradesh stronger,” Gandhi said.

–IANS

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