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Alliances, Attacks and Promises: From Lucknow to Delhi and Dubai, Parties Sound 2019 Election Bugle

Political analysts are of the opinion that the timing of the Mayawati-Akhilesh press conference coinciding with Modi’s speech is also an indication of how the two parties are trying to eclipse each other’s electoral prowess.

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Updated:January 12, 2019, 6:07 PM IST
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Alliances, Attacks and Promises: From Lucknow to Delhi and Dubai, Parties Sound 2019 Election Bugle
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav with BSP supremo Mayawati on Saturday.
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New Delhi: The campaign for the 2019 general election has officially begun, with the SP-BSP announcing an alliance to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on one hand, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi set the electoral agenda at the saffron party’s national executive meet on the other. At the same time, Congress president Rahul Gandhi is interacting with the diaspora in Dubai.

Political analysts are of the opinion that the timing of the Mayawati-Akhilesh press conference coinciding with Modi’s speech is also an indication of how the two parties are trying to eclipse each other’s electoral prowess.

The BJP’s intention was made clear by party president Amit Shah on Friday as he asserted that they wanted the Ram Temple to be built in Ayodhya at the earliest, accusing the Congress of putting "hurdles" in the resolution of the issue.

Shah's reiteration of the party's stand on the issue in his inaugural address drew the most enthusiastic response from thousands of its members at Ramlila Maidan, underscoring its resonance with the saffron party's rank and file.

With the alliance sealed in Uttar Pradesh, the SP-BSP also set their eyes on the 2019 elections. Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Friday that his party will grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh if voted to power in the upcoming general elections. He made the statement in his address to the Indian diaspora at a cricket stadium in Dubai on Friday.

Gandhi, who is in UAE on a two-day visit, announced, "As soon as our government comes to power, we will give special status to Andhra Pradesh". Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated into Telangana and the residuary Andhra Pradesh state on June 2, 2014.

Special category status has been one of the major demands of all political parties in Andhra since the bifurcation, and had made the Telugu Desam Party pull out from the NDA after the Narendra Modi government rejected the demand.

The Centre has cited the 14th Finance Commission and said that the report does not allow it to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh and has instead offered a special financial package, but Rahul Gandhi ignored such concerns while making the promise.

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