UP needs no adopted son
Priyanka takes a jibe at Modi on home turf Rae Bareli as the state enters Phase III of polls
The fate of half of the 403-seat Uttar Pradesh assembly will be sealed on February 19 when the third phase of the polling would be held. This is also one of the most crucial phases for the ruling Samajwadi Party, which had swept 55 of the 69 constituencies of central Uttar Pradesh in 2012 that will go to polls on Sunday.
If the first two phases indicated much better performance by Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the concern for SP in the third leg will be a high-voltage campaign launched by the BJP.
Spicing up the campaign in the middle of seven-phased elections was Priyanka Gandhi, who made her maiden appearance on Friday in family turf, Rae Bareli. Priyanka launched her campaign with a direct attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had claimed that he was the “adopted son” of Uttar Pradesh.
Priyanka, who played a key role in stitching together Congress alliance with SP, said that the state doest not need any leader from outside when it has its own two sons, a reference to Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi. “PM Modi had earlier too said Varanasi has adopted me and I am like a son for it and will develop it,” she said in Rae Bareily, which is represented by her mother Sonia Gandhi in Parliament.
Priyanka reached Rae Bareily days after union minister Smriti Irani had attacked the Gandhi family for ignoring the constituency. She had claimed that Priyanka was avoiding visiting Amethi, her brother’s constituency, and Rae Bareily because the Gandhi family had not fulfilled any promises to the people.
Rahul Gandhi also took centre stage with the attack on PM Modi. “You must have seen the movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, have you not? Do you remember it? In the film there is a promise of achche din (good days),” he said taking a dig at the PM saying what the people got instead was villain Gabbar Singh of Sholay.
Areas like Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Kannauj, Barabanki, Sitapur, Lucknow, Unnai, Kanpur, Etawah and Auraiya will see polling on February 19. The SP has fielded 61 candidates and the Congress 14. The BJP has 68 candidates in fray and the BSP has 69.
Spotlight will be on several constituencies in the third phase. These include Lucknow Cantt seat from where Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter in law Aparna yadav is pitched against Rita Bahuguna Joshi of the BJP. Bahuguna Joshi was a prominent Congress leader before she joined the BJP.
From Hardoi, SP leader Naresh Agarwal’s son Nitin is contesting against Raja Bux Singh of the BJP and Dharamveer Singh of BSP.
In Lucknow East, BJP veteran Lalji Tandon’s son Ashtosh Tandan “Gopal Ji” is pitched against Anurag Singh of the Congress and Saroj Kumar Shukla of BSP.
Mainpuri, SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav’s bastion, will see contest between Rajkumar alias Raju Yadav of SP, Ashok Kumar of BJP and Maharaj Singh of BSP.
Ground reports after the first two phases of elections indicate that Mayawati’s BSP may have performed better than expected. A surge by BSP can spell trouble for the SP-Congress alliance.