LUCKNOW, Jan 11 (ET) : The CongressSamajwadi Party alliance may not have been formally announced yet, but the two parties appeared on Tuesday to be racing ahead with their plans to kickstart a joint election campaign led by Gandhi siblings Rahul and Priyanka, along with Akhilesh and Dimple Yadav, later this week, according to Economics Times report.
The ET says, Confirming the development, the ongoing Samajwadi family feud has delayed the announcement of the alliance because Akhilesh insisted on clarity on whether he retains control of the party and its poll symbol -the bicycle. The Election Commission, in front of which a petition submitted by both sides is pending, is expected to hear them out on January 13. A ruling favourable to Akhilesh could lead to the launch of the alliance the same day, the sources said.
Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad urged “secular forces“ to close ranks on Tuesday, a remark seen as ending the ambiguity around a Congress-SP allian ce. Congress's chief ministerial face in UP, Sheila Dikshit, even suggested that she would step aside to accommodate the youthAkhilesh and Rahulif they take centrestage in the country's biggest state.
ET says "All preparations reinforce a keenness on both sides for the tie-up, which began ever since Akhilesh took on the SP patriarch. The UP CM had held preliminary discussions with Priyanka in December (first report by TOI), in which both sides showed their willingness to align ahead of the UP polls. After Rahul's return from his overseas trip, a final meeting to seal the partnership is expected this week."
The Congress is known to have pushed for a 105-seat partnership with the SP for the 403member House. Incidentally, Akhilesh and Mulayam have struck contrarian positions on a pre-poll alliance. While UP chief minister Akhilesh believes an alliance with the Congress will help SP , Mulayam, it appears, thinks otherwise.