- Akhilesh Yadav says Congress alliance makes victory sure shot
- He says father Mulayam Singh will campaign for him
- Akhilesh Yadav says voters know that his government has delivered
"The Samajwadi Party is completely capable of fighting elections alone. When we did that, we formed the government with a majority. So this was not needed. I am completely against this alliance, I won't campaign," said Mulayam Singh, who is listed high on his son's roster of star campaigners and could serve as an important vote-puller especially among older men.
"We will win anyway, but the alliance with the Congress will ensure a big margin of victory," Akhilesh Yadav told NDTV in his first interview after his road-show yesterday in Lucknow which included Rahul Gandhi, Congress boss. Before their drive-through, they pitched the benefits of their political agreement for consumption by both voters and the cadre of their parties, who are reportedly not convinced of the merits of the combo.
Mulayam Singh has issued a series of threats: that he will not campaign for his son, that party workers will be encouraged to diss the Congress collaboration, and that the tie-up will be inimical for the Samajwadi Party.
Finally, the 43-year-old Chief Minister, coached by another uncle, Ram Gopal Yadav, went nuclear, announcing his own candidates, lifting the title of Samajwadi President from his father for himself, and signing on the Congress as junior partner. Mulayam Singh, he announced, would serve as Samajwadi mentor, virtually relegating him to retirement. A sullen father then chose not to stand by his son as he revealed the party's manifesto, ignoring last-minute appeals sent to him from the stage by party leaders seated there.
Akhilesh Yadav's political treaty with the Congress has not been without complications - the deal nearly sunk without a trace over how many of Uttar Pradesh's 403 seats the Congress, greatly enervated in recent years, should be allowed. 105 was the final decision. But Raebareli and Amethi, the political zip code of the Gandhi family, remains a stress point, with both sides wanting to contest the bulk of the 10 seats. And yesterday, Rahul Gandhi was less than flattering when asked to assess Akhilesh Yadav's performance in office. "His intent is good," he responded, insinuating, not entirely without snark, that the result may be lacking.
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