This would be the first outing of the two leaders after the alliance between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party was announced. Yadav and Gandhi set off on a 12-km road show starting from the Gandhi statue at Hazratganj through most of Old Lucknow in a show of unity and to showcase the tagline of their poll campaign "UP ko ye saath pasand hai" (UP likes this alliance).
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav may have snatched the leadership of the Samajwadi Party and firmed up an alliance with the Congress, but the primary obstacle to his campaign continues to be his father, Mulayam Singh. We always fought against Congress.
While BSP chief Mayawati in a press note termed the Samajwadi Party- Congress alliance as unholy one which has been forged on the behest of BJP. In the past, it fought alone and formed the government with a majority. "No occasion arose for effecting an alliance", he said.
Noting he had advised his son against entering into an electoral alliance with the Congress, Mulayam Singh said it was most unfortunate that Akhilesh Yadav had done so in his quest to grab power. Meanwhile, Rahul added that he is happy with the alliance and that the personal and political relationship will only get deeper.
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The Congress Vice-President asserted that it was not an "opportunistic alliance" but a meeting of hearts that would benefit the people of the state as well as the country as well as the two parties. Tongues have wagged over the years to suggest that his inner moves frequently give comfort to BJP, against which Akhilesh, in Congress' company this time, is waging a ferocious battle.
Voicing displeasure over the alliance between Samajwadi Party and Congress, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav yesterday had said he would not campaign for it in the assembly polls. "And we don't even know how large that elephant will be", he said. "Similarly, the success of this alliance will do the ground work for Rahul Gandhi's political prospects in the 2019 Lok Sabha election", pointed out Ramesh Dixit, a Lucknow-based political analyst. "His (Mulayam) remarks can damage our prospects.We will request him not to make such remarks during the elections", said a senior leader and Akhilesh aide here.
The questions like - what will happen to Congress campaign of "27 Saal UP behal" as 13 years of these 27 years was ruled by SP or whether actually Congress feel UP had progressed in that tenure. Most significantly, Rahul said he had vast respect for Mayawati and indicated that because of her policies, she was more acceptable than the Bharatiya Janata Party.