- Akhilesh Yadav said students in Raebareli mistook him for Rahul Gandhi
- He offered this as a sample of poor education in Gandhi turf
- Congress and Akhilesh Yadav likely to contest election together
The speech that highlighted the Samajwadi Party's manifesto underscored the generational shift at its very top: while Mulayam Singh had at one time pledged free saris to poor women, the Chief Minister said a pension of Rs 1000 seemed more practical and useful.
Akhilesh Yadav defied the expectation that he would confirm what the Congress has conveyed: that an alliance has been brought back from the brink of collapse with the Samajwadi Party agreeing to let the Congress contest 105 of a total of 403 seats, an amount arrived at after all-night bargaining.
The Chief Minister has for months dispensed the argument that together, the parties can win 300 seats. His easy rapport with Congress boss Rahul Gandhi is also well-established. But his party was unwilling to let the Congress run candidates in seven of the ten constituencies in Rae Bareli and Amethi, which are Gandhi family turf.
In a reference to Rahul Gandhi, the Chief Minister said that when he visited Raebareli, children in government schools displayed learning by rote as opposed to a comprehensive education. When asked who he was, they responded "Rahul Gandhi", symptomatic, he said of superficial tutoring.
His criticism of the education provided in the parliamentary constituency of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is likely to rankle her party, which brooks no criticism of either its First Family or the suggestion that despite its VVIP leadership, Raebareli and Amethi have been under-served and under-developed.