As Priyanka joins Congress, Rahul says still open to an alliance with SP-BSP
“As I have said, I have immense respect for both Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. But Congress Party is not going to play on the backfoot. Not in UP, not in Gujarat,” said Rahul
Congress President Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday that his party was still open to an alliance with Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, just hours after Priyanka Gandhi was appointed as general secretary incharge of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Talking to reporters in Amethi, his Lok Sabha constituency, Rahul said, “All three of our parties have a common goal of defeating the BJP. We are still open to an alliance, if they approach us.”
The Congress leader dismissed rumours that Priyanka was inducted as Congress’ UP (east) incharge in response to the alliance of SP-BSP earlier this month, a decision which had left out Congress from the alliance.
“As I have said, I have immense respect for both Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. But Congress Party is not going to play on the backfoot. Not in UP, not in Gujarat,” said Rahul.
He said both Priyanka and Madhya Pradesh’s youth leader Jyotiraditya Scindia had been brought into UP Congress to wage an ideological battle to protect the youth, the poor and the oppressed sections of the society.
“Priyanka and Jyotiraditya are not in Uttar Pradesh just for two months. The party has given them the mission to make Congress a strong voice in the state’s politics,” said Rahul.
Rahul said that Priyanka will work hard to make sure that the sprawling state gets a Congress administration.
"Aaj maine Priyanka ko UP ka General Secretary bana diya hai. Ab wo yahan par Congress ka apna CM baithane ka kaam karengi," he said as crowds of party workers cheered.
Earlier, Gandhi laid the foundation stone of 18 developmental projects on his arrival at Fursatganj in Amethi on a two-day visit.
He was greeted by overzealous party workers at several places. He also met gram panchayat representatives. Posters and banners carrying his and Priyanka's pictures came up at many places in Amethi.
Celebrations also broke out in many parts of Rae Bareli, the parliamentary constituency of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Jubilant Congress activists and supporters took to the streets in Lucknow too, dancing and raising slogans in favour of Priyanka Gandhi.
"Indira is back!" read some posters, an obvious reference to the striking resemblance between Priyanka Gandhi and her late grandmother Indira Gandhi.
(with IANS inputs)