29 January, 2017
Kick starting 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.
“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.”
He also compared their alliance to “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),” he said.
“This is an alliance of three Ps — Progress, Prosperity and Peace — to fight the politics of anger, creating divide and making false promises,” he said. 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 which was forged to fight the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections starting on February 11. “The Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance will make Uttar Pradesh stronger,” Gandhi said.
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?)” CM Akhilesh 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,” he said.
Both youth icons of Indian politics exuded a friendliness, at one point Rahul even called Akhilesh “a good boy”, which the latter took sportingly, with a grin.
Here are a few glimpses of their joint rally which commenced after the press conference:
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