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Samajwadi Party to Congress: back us if you want to fight BJP

Akhilesh welcomes Priyanka's entry into active politics, notes how it has spared 2 seats for Congress

By Our Special Correspondent in New Delhi

  • Published 29.01.19, 2:39 AM
  • Updated 29.01.19, 2:39 AM
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav Telegraph picture

Akhilesh Yadav has asked the Congress to support the Samajwadi Party-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh if it was committed to fight against the BJP.

In an interview with the news agency PTI, the Samajwadi Party leader and former chief minister welcomed the entry of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into the Congress but said: “I welcome her entry in active politics. Youth should join active politics for making the new India. If the Congress vows to fight against the BJP, which is an expert in spreading lies, it should support our alliance. We have already spared two seats Rae Bareli and Amethi for them.”

The Congress, which doesn’t want to speak against the SP-BSP at this stage till every possibility of understanding with these parties fades, feels Akhilesh hadn’t shown any sign of flexibility before or after Priyanka’s induction.

Asked about the statement, a senior Congress leader said: “Isn’t this a way of asking the Congress to sacrifice everything and support them? Where is the give and take?”

A former Congress MP from Uttar Pradesh said on condition of anonymity: “We know they have left Rae Bareli and Amethi for us. What is the point in repeating this? If there is a perception that Priyanka’s entry will strengthen the Congress which can cut both ways — hurting the BJP as well as SP-BSP alliance, there should be a reassessment of strategy and reasonable adjustment. Rahulji has said we are ready for cooperation wherever Akhilesh and Mayawatiji want.”

This leader explained: “But they have persisted with their rigid stand by offering only two seats. We got over 2 lakh votes in some seats and did well in other 12-15 seats in the fierce Modi wave in 2014. We won 22 Lok Sabha seats in 2009. Now they expect us to abandon our claims because of their false assessment that we are good enough to fight only two seats. How else this can be decided except vote if they don’t see reason? As Rahulji said, we will play on front foot, Akhilesh should not expect us to be a spectator of their show.”

The Congress leaders felt disappointed by Akhilesh’s statement as it refused to show any consideration of their strength, including the possible impact of the Priyanka factor.

The Congress high command has asked the state leadership to identify strong candidates and start preparations on war footing in those select constituencies instead of wasting energy on hopeless seats.

While Rahul and Priyanka are expected to make a splash in the first week of February in Uttar Pradesh, including going to the ongoing Kumbh, the new general secretaries will take charge with great fanfare.

Jyotiraditya Scindia and Priyanka will conduct several roadshows in the coming weeks in an attempt to galvanise the party workers and change the perception that the Congress was just a fringe player in the state.

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