Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's political plunge has created a flutter across parties. The straight contest in Uttar Pradesh between the BJP and the Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav alliance has now turned into a three-cornered fight. While the BJP claims that the Congress' move aims at threatening the collaboration between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the alliance partners say that they are safe and it's the BJP that should be concerned.
"The BJP is not at all worried. Why should it be when her entry is only going to help us. The Congress has brought in Priyanka Gandhi with a view to threaten the SP-BSP alliance, with the possibility of a split in their votes. It is a desperate attempt to make Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati rethink their strategy," Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said he was happy that the "Congress, too, was promoting new leaders" and hoped that this decision will strengthen the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. However, he didn't spell out the possible impact that this development might have on their alliance.
The BSP, on the other hand, said Priyanka Gandhi's entry will only help the SP-BSP combine.
"The Priyanka Gandhi factor will work in favour of the Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawati alliance because the Congress, if it is does well, will cut into the votes of the BJP. It will only benefit our gathbandhan," RS Kushwaha, the BSP's state unit chief, said today.
Akhilesh Yadav and Dalit leader Mayawati adopted a forgive-and-forget approach and put behind their decades-old rivalry to suture an alliance in UP that will fight the BJP in the upcoming national election. However, the Congress wasn't offered any role to play in the partnership prompting the grand-old party to announce it was ready to go it alone. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi announced the Congress will contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Within days of his declaration, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra -- Rahul Gandhi's sister who has had a contributory position in the party's key decisions till now -- was inducted as the Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Priyanka Gandhi, who is married to entrepreneur Robert Vadra, joined politics this week after years of speculation. Her older brother and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said she had been reluctant to take up politics full-time because she wanted to focus on her two children.
In the 2017 assembly elections, the Congress, which fought in alliance with Samajwadi Party, won four of the 10 assembly seats under Amethi and Raebareli Lok Sabha constituencies. Akhilesh Yadav had indicated that the alliance with the Congress had hurt his chances.
This time, Mayawati, which announcing the tie-up with Akhilesh Yadav, explained the reason for dropping Congress was that the party lacked the ability even to transfer votes.
Rahul Gandhi had hit back, saying the Congress had much to offer the people of Uttar Pradesh.
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