In what can be termed a new chapter in the country’s political history, Lucknow on Sunday was witness to a “historic” coming together of hitherto arch-rivals. The Samajwadi Party and the Congress have joined hands for the upcoming assembly elections in a bid to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party’s alleged politics of divisiveness and hatred.
Calling it an “historic alliance”, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday sounded the poll bugle for the seven-phased assembly elections by addressing their first joint press conference before kicking off their 15-km roadshow in Lucknow.
Stating that the alliance between the two parties is like the coming together of Ganga and Yamuna rivers, Rahul Gandhi said it would give rise to a Saraswati of progress and development.
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“Yeh ek tarah se yahan Ganga-Yamuna ka milan ho raha hai, progress ki Saraswati isme se niklegi,” Rahul said.
“The alliance will work on delivering the three Ps to the common man: peace, progress and prosperity,” he said, to which Akhilesh added a fourth ‘P’ of “People’s alliance”.
Stating that the alliance will speed up the progress of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh said that both he and Rahul had longstanding personal relations and now both are working together for the sake of the state. Rahul, too, added that he is happy with the alliance and that the personal and political relationship will only get deeper now.
The two young leaders also focused on the fact they “are friends and not just political allies” and that the two parties “share much of each other’s ideologies” and goals.
Replying to a question that their’s was only a marriage of convenience, Rahul said that an alliance is a give and take but the moot point is that their goal is the same.
“True, we have our similarities and our differences. But we want to contest the elections together for our similarities and are making some compromises over our differences. The reason for this is that we want to give the people of UP, especially the youth, a different option for a new type of politics,” he said.
Answering to a question as to why did he feel the need for an alliance if he was sure of his government’s “good work”, Akhilesh said this was “a people’s alliance”.
“There was never any doubt about our work. But the ‘cycle’ and ‘hand’ are a great combination. Now that they have come together, development work will move faster,” he said, adding that Rahul (Gandhi) and I are like the two wheels of the same cycle.