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Priyanka Gandhi Hints at Congress' Tacit Understanding With SP-BSP, Says Main Aim to Hurt BJP's Vote Share

Priyanka Gandhi also said that the Congress had strategically fielded candidates who would cut in BJP candidates’ votes in certain seats.


Updated:May 1, 2019, 3:05 PM IST

New Delhi: Hinting towards a tacit understanding with the SP-BSP combine in Uttar Pradesh, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on her campaign trail in Rae Bareli on Wednesday 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 was her 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.

Gandhi also addressed the question of her non-candidature from Varanasi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking re-election to the Parliament.

She had earlier said she would contest from Varanasi if the party wanted her to do so. “Why not?” Gandhi had said earlier this month. However, the grand old party ended speculation of a Modi vs Priyanka battle and fielded Ajai Rai, who had finished third behind Modi and AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal from Varanasi in 2014 elections.

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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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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