The congress will fight Lok Sabha in UP with 'full power': Rahul Gandhi

NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi has said his party will take its own stand in Uttar Pradesh and fight the Lok Sabha polls with “full might”. Addressing a press conference in Abu Dhabi on the last of his two-day tour of UAE, Rahul said, “Mayawati and Akhilesh have taken a political decision. Now, Congress has to stand on our own in UP. We’ll fight the Lok Sabha poll with full might. We will spread our ideology in UP. We will also make a place for ourself in UP.”

Gandhi’s comments came amid repeated assertions from Congress leaders on Saturday that the party was a force to reckon with in Uttar Pradesh and that the political opposition must synergise against the autocratic Modi rule to maximise results in 2019. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi also said the Modi government’s fear of the coming together of SP and BSP in UP was clear in the way the Centre had unleashed the probe agencies on former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Akhilesh has been charged with being involved in a mining scam in UP.

AICC general secretary in-charge of UP, Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, was more cautious and said the party would come out with a detailed reaction in Lucknow on Sunday. Azad met the UP leadership — UP Congress chief Raj Babbar, CLP leader Ajay Lallu, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Sinh and former MP Pramod Tiwari at his residence in Delhi on Saturday.

Following a meeting with party workers over two days in the national capital, Azad said, “We heard the press conference of the BSP and SP leaders. The party will come out with its stand in Lucknow on Sunday.” He also said the party would not react on the announcement on Saturday and any leader commenting on the issue would be putting forth his personal view.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said Azad would give a structured response to it on Sunday. “As far as alliances are concerned, we have always believed that state-specific alliances, which further the progressive and pluralistic ideals, which further consolidate the liberalised idea of India, are the way forward and I think there is space for that,” he said.