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Uttar Pradesh polls: Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi to set out for joint campaign on Sunday

Lucknow: With the catchline ‘UP ko yeh saath pasand hai’, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will set out for a joint campaign here tomorrow for the high stakes Assembly elections in the state.

The two leaders, who will come together for the first time after Congress and SP reached a pre-poll alliance with an aim to bag over 300 of the 403 Assembly seats up for grabs, will set the tone for the electioneering with a press conference and a road show.

“The two leaders will address a joint press conference in Lucknow tomorrow afternoon to give a clear message not just to their respective party cadres but also the people of the state of a united effort of the two parties to defeat communal parties,” a senior SP leader told PTI today.

A joint poster with the slogan ‘UP ko yeh saath pasand hai’ having the pictures of both Rahul and Akhilesh and their respective party symbols will also be released on the occasion.

The ‘tricolour’ and ‘red and green’ colours of both the parties will form the border of the posters.

After the press interaction, the two leaders will hold a joint road show across the densely populated areas of the state capital, he said, adding that the road show will start from Gandhi Statue in the Hazratganj area.

The route of the road show has been decided so that it also covers the Muslim-dominated areas besides the areas which have concentration of the youth population.

The two top leaders were previously expected to make a joint announcement about the alliance on January 22, but later the two state chiefs Raj Babbar (Congress) and Naresh Uttam (SP) announced the deal jointly.

Insiders said that joint rallies were also being planned by the two parties at a later stage.

They said the joint press conference would remove any confusion in the minds of voters on the tie-up between the two parties.

Rahul said Congress delivers what it promises to the people unlike other parties who allegedly betray people after coming to power.

Attacking Arvind Kejriwal and AAP, Rahul said the Delhi CM had promised to voters that he will transform Delhi if his party comes to power there, but “now various sections were up against them for befooling the people”.

“Ask autorickshaw wallahs, slum dwellers, safai karamcharis, poor, they will tell you the reality,” he said hitting out at AAP.

Rahul also said that Kejriwal knows fully well that his game is over in Delhi and he is facing public wrath there, which is why now he wants to become “Punjab’s CM”.

He, however, said that people of Punjab will never chose an “outsider”.

Rahul also said that Congress has always stood for and will always stand for the welfare of the poor, downtrodden, Dalits, small farmers, labourers and other weaker sections and appealed to the public to give the party a chance to serve them in Punjab.

He also talked about the problems faced by the common people in the wake of demonetisation.

Notably, Jalalabad Assembly constituency is witnessing a high-profile contest this time, with two MP of rival parties throwing their hat in the ring to take on Sukhbir Badal.

While Congress has fielded its Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu to take on Sukhbir Badal, AAP has fielded its Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann from the seat.

Rahul yesterday began his Punjab tour by addressing a rally at Majitha, from where Cabinet Minister and Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal’s brother-in-law, Bikram Singh Majithia is seeking re-election for third term.

PTI