Joint press meet likely on Sunday to send strong message of unity after SP-Congress pact.
New Delhi: In a bid to further cement the electoral alliance with the Samajwadi Party ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is expected to hold a joint press conference with chief minister Akhilesh Yadav shortly.
Senior leaders from both sides are of the view that the coming together of the two leaders on the same stage would send out a “strong and correct political message” to cadre across the state, especially after initial talks of an electoral pact between the two parties had hit a roadblock.
The press conference is being planned for January 29. Mr Gandhi is campaigning in Punjab, which is also headed for Assembly elections. But he will take time out of Punjab to address the press conference. He will head to Lucknow on Sunday. Apart from the press conference, he is also expected to organise a road show in Lucknow.
The two leaders are also scheduled to address 14 rallies across UP, which is headed for a seven-phase polling starting February 11. According to the plan chalked out so far, there will be two joint rallies before every phase of election in the state. The two sides are also in the process of making a series of slogans, which will be launched shortly. The first one is: “UP ko yeh saath pasand hai (UP likes this combination)”.
Another under consideration is: “Apne ladke vs Bahari Modi”. This will cash in on the fact that BJP has not projected any “local face” as its chief ministerial candidate yet. Planning on campaign strategies is also on in full swing. After the alliance pact both the parties have gone back to the drawing boards. But there are still some difference on Assembly seats in parliamentary constituencies of Amethi and Rae Bareli, which have been the traditional strongholds of the Gandhi family.
Both these places have five Assembly segments each. Out of the total 10 the SP has seven members of legislative Assembly, of which two are ministers in the Akhilesh Yadav government. People familiar with the matter say that Priyanka Gandhi, who was a backroom player in getting this alliance sealed, has sent word to Akhilesh Yadav that the Congress would like to contest on all 10 seats.
The logic being given is that since the Congress is not contesting in the family bastions of the Yadav family such as Mainpuri, Etawah and Azamgarh, the SP should also return the favour. At the moment an eerie silence prevails. The matter will be sorted out once the nomination dates come closer, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Before the alliance, the SP announced five candidates on these 10 constituencies. It has not taken back these names as polling in Amethi is in the fifth phase, while in Rae Bareli it is in the fourth phase. Campaigning for the first phase of the UP elections will end February 9.