Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's claim on fielding "weak" candidates in Uttar Pradesh to eat into the BJP's votes does not wash with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who said today that he "didn't believe" it. He also said the Congress had no support in the state.
"I don't believe that the Congress has fielded weak candidates anywhere. No party does it. People are not with them, so they are making excuses," Akhilesh Yadav told news agency ANI.
"There is no difference between the BJP and the Congress. The Congress wants to benefit the BJP. Who taught central agencies to intimidate opposition leaders," he added sharply.
Yesterday, Priyanka Gandhi had said Congress candidates would cut into BJP votes wherever they were not strong enough to win. "It is clear that our candidates are putting up a tough fight. Where they are strong enough, they will win on their own. Where they carry less weight, we have fielded such candidates that they would eat into BJP votes," Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said.
The Congress's newest general secretary, who has been touring eastern Uttar Pradesh to campaign for the party, said she disagreed that her party's candidates would end up dividing the opposition votes.
The Congress, kept out of the Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawati alliance in Uttar Pradesh, is contesting most of the 80 seats in the politically vital state. The move is widely believed to be one that will strengthen the BJP by splitting the votes against it.
Akhilesh Yadav also reacted to Congress President Rahul Gandhi's claim that the BJP "controls" the Samajwadi Party and the BSP. "No one controls us. We are political parties. It is the Samajwadi, BSP and RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh that is poised to deliver a defeat to the ruling party. Our alliance will stop the bad policies of BJP," he said.