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‘Don’t Believe it’: Akhilesh Yadav on Priyanka Gandhi’s Claim of Eating Into Only BJP Votes, Not SP-BSP

Priyanka Gandhi on Wednesday said the Congress has fielded candidates who would chew into BJP’s vote share but not hurt the gathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh.


Updated:May 2, 2019, 12:27 PM IST

Lucknow: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s claim of fielding candidates who would chew into BJP’s vote share but not hurt the gathbandhan in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh was met with skepticism by Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday.

The Samajwadi Party chief called Priyanka’s statement an “excuse” since the “people are not with them".

“I cannot believe in these types of statements. I do not believe that the Congress has fielded weak candidates anywhere. No party does it. People are not with them. That is why they are making excuses,” Yadav said.

“There is no difference between the BJP and the Congress. The Congress wants to benefit the BJP,” he added.

During her campaign trail in Rae Bareli on Wednesday, Priyanka had said that the grand old party had fielded candidates who would chew into BJP’s vote share but not hurt the gathbandhan.

Gandhi, who is Congress’ election in-charge for east UP, said defeating the BJP in the state is her key goal. “My strategy is very clear. We have to defeat BJP here in 2019,” Gandhi said, adding that the Congress had strategically fielded candidates who would cut in BJP candidates’ votes in certain seats.

“Congress will win on seats where it is strong. On seats where our candidates are a bit lightweight, we have fielded such candidates who will cut into BJP’s vote,” Gandhi said.

Congress and the SP-BSP Mahagathbandhan are contesting Lok Sabha elections in UP separately after the parties failed to form an alliance in the state.

The Congress, however, is not contesting on seven seats in the state which are being contested by key SP-BSP leaders. These seats include Mainpuri, from where SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav is contesting, and Kannauj, where Dimple Yadav, sitting MP and wife of SP president Akhilesh Yadav, is the candidate.

The SP-BSP alliance, too, has not fielded candidates in Rae Bareli and Amethi, both of which are Congress strongholds.

Congress state chief Raj Babbar had said last month the party would “think four times before helping the BJP” on any seat in UP. “"If there is a seat where the BJP is being helped because of the way things are, we will see if we can replace candidates," Babbar had said.

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