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At show of strength, Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav refuse to talk on key issues

Questions on the poll strategy in Uttar Pradesh and contentious Ram Mandir issue went unanswered

Written by Kanishka Singh | New Delhi |
January 29, 2017 3:31:57 pm
Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav press brief is aimed at sending a strong message to party cadres from both sides, asking them to work together to ensure the defeat of BJP and BSP. Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav press brief is aimed at sending a strong message to party cadres from both sides, asking them to work together to ensure the defeat of BJP and BSP.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi kicked off their maiden election outing in Lucknow on Sunday as a show of strength. At a press briefing, Akhilesh and Rahul looked a picture of gleeful boys trying hard to project the alliance of their parties in the most positive manner. Their body language, meant to show bonhomie and goodwill between the two seemed to be an overkill. Akhilesh, who is also Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and Rahul did not give away much vis-a vis their poll strategy and some key issues like Ram Mandir.

This was the first time both scions shared the stage and repeatedly dished out clichéd lines like — “this alliance is like the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna out of which Saraswati of development will emerge. But both refuted the obvious when questioned whether the alliance was opportunistic, reiterating their partnership with their poll tagline ‘UP ko yeh sath pasand hai’ (UP likes this alliance). 

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Samajwadi Party, under the command of newly crowned national president Akhilesh, and Congress party will fight the polls in alliance with a seat breakup of 298 seats and 105 seats, respectively.

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Two big takeaways emerge from the presser which is the mystery surrounding the family participation of both Akhilesh and Rahul. Both denied giving away any election strategy and dodged questions on whether SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Congress president Sonia Gandhi will campaign in the election. Though the name of the latter is among the star campaigners as is of her daughter Priyanka Vadra who is also expected to campaign for the Congress.

On the issue of Ram Mandir, Rahul ducked the question commenting that the matter is sub judice. In contrast to the BJP that has in its manifesto announced that it will go all out for the construction of Ram Mandir in its bid to consolidate Hindu vote in the state, SP and Congress, who both have Muslims as their traditional vote banks, do not want to push them away.

Knowing well that they do not hold a strong following among the Hindu vote in the state, which is largely divided between the BJP and to some extent Brahmins and majority Dalits to BSP, both parties thought it unwise to comment on the issue.

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First published on: 29-01-2017 at 03:31:57 pm
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