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We are like two wheels of a bicycle: Akhilesh at joint press briefing with Rahul Gandhi

However, both leaders deflected questions on the purported strains in the alliance over which party will contest the seats in Amethi and Rae Bareilly, represented by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi respectively.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 29, 2017 2:53:37 pm
UP elections, UP polls, Rahul Gandhi-Modi, Rahul-Modi, Uttar Pradesh elections, Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul-Akhilesh joint press conference, Samajwadi Party, Congress, SP-Congress alliance, India news, Indian Express Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav at the press briefing

Kickstarting the poll campaign for the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance in Uttar Pradesh, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi termed it a ‘historic alliance’ and one that will pave the way for continued growth and prosperity in Uttar Pradesh.

At their first joint press briefing in Lucknow, both leaders hugged and exchanged flower bouquets before settling down to answer questions from journalists. The press briefing and a planned road show come days after both parties sealed the alliance under a formula where the SP will contest 289 seats and the Congress on the remaining 105 seats.

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“This SP-Congress partnership is an answer to the politics of hate and division. We want to end the politics of anger perpetuated by the RSS-BJP,” said Gandhi at the press briefing. “This is not an opportunistic alliance. We will show PM Modi and BJP-RSS that people of UP are with us.”

Using a metaphorical reference, Gandhi said the alliance will be as crystal-clear as the ‘Ganga-Yamuna’ sangam at Allahabad.

He also countered questions on his party’s earlier slogan of ’27 saal, UP behaal’ which included previous SP administrations saying he has always believed Akhilesh to be a good leader. “I have said earlier that Akhilesh is a good leader, but he was not allowed to work in Uttar Pradesh,” said Gandhi in a reference to the factional crisis that enveloped the Samajwadi Party.

The chief minister also hit out at the BJP, saying the SP-Congress partnership is an answer to those who made the nation stand in queues in a reference to the Centre’s demonetisation move.

Sardi dekhli, garmi dekhli, barsaat dekhli, kal ka manifesto bhi dekh liya, kisine acche din dekhein? (We saw winters, summers, rain. We saw yesterday’s manifesto as well. Has anyone seen good days?)” Yadav said.

About Gandhi, he added, “We have been together in the Lok Sabha. We know each other. It is a good thing that we have to work together now. We are like two wheels of a bicycle. There is not a lot of difference in our ages as well,” Yadav said.

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However, both leaders deflected questions on the purported strains in the alliance over which party will contest the seats in Amethi and Rae Bareilly, represented by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi respectively.

“It is a peripheral issue. It is not the central issue,” said Gandhi.

On questions about the role of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the election, Gandhi said, “Priyanka is an asset to the Congress. She has been of tremendous help to me. She will decide whether she wants to campaign or not.”

On whether wife Dimple Yadav will play an important role in the election, Akhilesh said, “She is a Lok Sabha MP. She will decide.” Both Priyanka and Dimple, who is an MP from Kannauj, were absent at the press conference.

Both Akhilesh and Rahul declined to say whether Sonia Gandhi and Mulayam Singh Yadav will campaign for the election adding that they would not reveal electoral strategies.

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