Calling it an historic alliance, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday sounded the poll bugle by addressing a joint press conference before beginning their campaign in the poll-bound state.
Prior to the press conference, both leaders — wearing similar clothes — were seen hugging each other while exchanging pleasantries.
Rahul began the press conference by stressing on the historical importance of Uttar Pradesh and said that the alliance along with the people of UP will give a befitting reply to BJP's "krodh aur gusse ki rajniti" ( politics of hate and anger)
Rahul stated that the alliance will work on delivering three Ps to the common man: Peace, Progress and Prosperity. Akhilesh, on the other hand, added the fourth "P" :"People"s alliance".
Modi ji ke shabdon mein ye 3 Ps hain, progress, prosperity aur peace: Rahul Gandhi pic.twitter.com/8zUGS0NAyw
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 29, 2017
"3P ki jo baat ki, 4th P main jodd deta hoon - ye People's alliance bankar ubhar ke aayega" (I will add the fourth P and this alliance will emerge as a people's alliance), Akhilesh said. Suggesting that both have had a long standing personal relations, Akhilesh said that after being together in the Lok Sabha, now both are working together for the sake of the state. Meanwhile, Rahul added that he is happy with the alliance and that the personal and political relationship will only get deeper.
The alliance has made the personal and political relationship between Akhilesh and me better: Rahul Gandhi — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 29, 2017
The Gandhi scion then equated the alliance between the two parties as the coming together of the two rivers: Ganga and the Yamuna in the Allahabad's Sangam.
Ganga-Yamuna ek soch hai, ye jahan milti hain unko pehchana nahi jaata ki ye Ganga hai aur ye Yamuna, aisa alliance hoga: Rahul Gandhi pic.twitter.com/QyCjs7DrIy
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 29, 2017
Claiming that even the voters want a Samajwadi-Congress alliance to be in power, the chief minister said that his alliance will bring "khushali aur tarraki" (prosperity and development). He also added that he is confident of the alliance romping home with more than 300 seats in the Vidhan Sabha. Targeting the BJP on note ban, Akhilesh questioned the Centre on its poll plank of 'acche din' and remarked, "Sardi dekhli, garmi dekhli, barsaat dekhli, kal ka manifesto bhi dekh liya, kisine acche din dekhein?" (We experienced winter, summer, monsoon as well as yesterday's manifesto, but we have not seen good days). The Samajwadi Party chief added that the voters will stand in line to boot out those who made them to queue up during demonetisation.
Sardi dekhli, garmi dekhli, barsaat dekhli, kal ka manifesto bhi dekh liya, kisine acche din dekhein?: Akhilesh Yadav — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 29, 2017
When asked on its earlier poll slogan of '27 saal UP behaal', Rahul chose to sidestep the question and said that he personally felt that Akhilesh's intentions are good and has done some good work. However, he said that some people are not allowing him to do his job.
Hum do pahiye hain or umar mein bhi zyada fasla nahi hai, vikas ka bhi pahiya hai aur khushhali ka bhi: Akhilesh Yadav pic.twitter.com/AeqdNaaZSo
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 29, 2017
Throughout the press conference, both leaders stressed that they intend to empower the youth in the state. Akhilesh also tried to hard sell his 'kaam bolta hai' (work speaks for itself) slogan, adding that everyone knows his developmental work in the past five years, while focusing on his flagship Agra Expressway and the Lucknow Metro project. On being asked whether the alliance is an alliance of convenience, Rahul said that both the parties are focusing on their similarities while keeping out the differences for the sake of the state.
This alliance isn't opportunistic,will explain to Modi Ji,BJP & RSS that UP and its people are one and we will not let them create divide:RG pic.twitter.com/9bH84ed0Wh — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 29, 2017
Rahul added that Congress entered into a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party to stop the BJP and RSS and their ideology of hate and lies.
"Hum chahte hain jo krodh RSS-BJP faila rahe hain or jhoothe vaade kar rahen hain usey rok saken" ( We want to stop the BJP and RSS' ideology of hate and lies.)
Akhilesh hit out at the BJP's poll manifesto calling it "superficial", while alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Man ki Baat', saying that the human mind is feeble and if one listens to mind then the person will be in trouble.
The chief minister also slammed BJP for promising a task force for investigating the Kairana exodus.
Choosing not to directly answer the seat sharing issues the party is facing in its stronghold of Amethi and Raebareli, Rahul said that it is an internal matter of the alliance, reiterating that it would not have an impact on the overall alliance.
On the question of Priyanka Gandhi's role in forging the alliance, Rahul said he won't reveal "operational details" of the plan and left it to his sister to choose whether to campaign or not.
When asked on the absence of BSP in the alliance to stop the BJP, Rahul said that while the BJP's ideology is dangerous for India, Mayawati's ideology is not. "BJP ek Hindustani ko dusre Hindustani se ladati hai, unke ideology se India ko khatra hai,par Mayawati ke ideology se koi khatra nahi" (BJP's ideology makes Indians to fight each other. That is dangerous. But Mayawati's ideology is not a threat to India), he said.
The Gandhi scion slammed Modi on his promise to fight corruption, saying that his statements like his policies like Make in India lack substance. Rahul added that Modi sharing stage with Sukhbir Badal suggest that he is not sincere in his fight against graft.
To a question on Ram Temple, Rahul said since it was a sub-judice matter, he would not comment on it. He said BJP rakes up the issue during every election. His reply came to a question on BJP's manifesto which says efforts would be made to get Ram temple built in Ayodhya within the law.
On the question whether Samajwadi Party would be supporting Rahul as the prime minister in 2019, Akhilesh chose not to reveal his cards so soon suggesting that the party would initially focus on the forthcoming election.
Out of the 403 assembly seats, Congress will be contesting in 105 and SP the rest 298 seats.
Akhilesh-Rahul bonhomie reflects in road show
It was flowers, rose petals and garlands all the way for Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav who on Sunday held a 12 km long road show in Lucknow that reflected the new found bonhomie between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party.
Boosting the morale of their supporters and signalling unity, the two leaders atop the 'UP Vijay Rath' started the road show from the GPO park in Hazratganj after garlanding the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
The specially designed Rath had pictures of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav, and the alliance's catch line 'UP ko yeh saath pasand hai'.
The leaders, who were surrounded by security personnel, greeted people on streets and atop buildings from a platform on the vehicle's roof.
The Rath moved along with hordes of Congress and SP workers who raised slogans and showered flower petals on the leaders amid the beating of drums and songs eulogising the two parties.
The road show covered some densely populated areas of the state capital spanning the old Lucknow localities, which have a sizable Muslim population.
The meandering route was planned in such way that the message of the alliance reached a cross-section of people and
large section of population.
The two leaders earlier addressed a joint press conference and ended the road show with a public meeting at the historic 'Ghanta Ghar' in the Chowk area of Lucknow.
With input from agencies
Updated Date: Jan 29, 2017 19:38 PM