Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi are addressing their first joint conference after the announcement of the Samajwadi Party and Congress alliance.
After days of wrangling over seat sharing, Akhilesh-led Samajwadi Party and Rahul-led Congress struck a deal on January 22 to contest the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections together, with the former contesting 298 seats and the latter fighting 105.
Catch the live updates here:
2:18pm: We are compares to Ganga and Yamuna rivers. Just like you can’t tell where the rivers meet, this alliance will also be that seamless: Rahul
2:13pm: Nobody can say the Samajwadi has done no work. UP people have faith that we will work: Akhilesh
2:08pm: If we don’t take care of our youth, along with our farmers, what will become of the future: Akhilesh
2:05pm: Our alliance is not opportunistic, we will fight the BJP together: Rahul
2:03pm: There is one non-negotiable in the alliance -- whichever govt comes to power, farmers need to profit: Rahul
2pm: In a negotiation, there is posturing. The media takes this very seriously. Now that we have agreement, there will be a compromise: Rahul
1:58pm: Mayawati’s ideology doesn’t divide the country, unlike the BJP’s that pits Indians against each other. Do not compare the two: Rahul
1:56pm: I personally respect Mayawati, just as I respect Kanshi Ram. There is a huge difference between Mayawati and BJP: Rahul
1:55pm: If I tell you everything now, what will you have to report later: Akhilesh responds to question on campaign details
1:54pm: Whether we will form an alliance in Lok Sabha or not is open to discussion: Rahul
1:53pm: We will show the BJP you cannot trample over this country and rule it: Rahul
1:50pm: In the coming 5 years, we will together govern the state well: Akhilesh
1:49pm: Will not reveal campaign strategy, but it is up to my sister Priyanka to decide whether she wants to campaign (for Congress) in UP. Priyanka has been of tremendous help to me and I have been so to her; she is an asset: Rahul
1:46pm: This is a historic alliance. Our gaol is to defeat fascist forces, defeat RSS and BJP ideology: Rahul
1:44pm: UP’s DNA has brotherhood, love unlike the RSS and BJP’s politics of anger: Rahul
1:42pm: Mann ki baat manoge, to phas jaoge (If you listen to Mann ki baat, you will be in trouble): Akhilesh
1:41pm: We want to give the youth another option. The Cong and SP have similarities; this is an alliance based on these similarities: Rahul
1:40pm: We want to stop the politics of anger. It destroys the nation. Our alliance is for the youth: Rahul
1:38pm: Akhilesh is a good person but wasn’t allowed to work: Rahul
1:36pm: In the coming time, Rahul and I will take UP forward: Akhilesh
1:35pm: The cycle will be with the hand: Akhilesh
1:34pm: Akhilesh reiterates Rahul, says their alliance is an answer for the people who had to stand in line
1:30pm: This is an alliance for peace, progress and prosperity: Akhilesh
1:25pm: I have a personal friendship with Akhilesh Yadav: Rahul Gandhi
1:24pm: Our alliance is an answer to the people: Rahul Gandhi
Press conference begins.
For Akhilesh, who comes out of scathing family feud and faces anti-incumbency, the tie-up could boost the fight against the formidable BJP and BSP, especially by consolidating the Muslim vote, which forms a significant 19% of the electorate.
Lucknow: CM Akhilesh Yadav & Cong VP Rahul Gandhi to hold joint press conference shortly pic.twitter.com/MznvWNvnDf— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 29, 2017
The alliance has given the grand old party a glimmer of hope after hitting an abyss, although it risks being sidelined as a supporting cast — as in Bihar where it played second fiddle to Nitish-Lalu coalition—while regional parties grow larger.
A victory for BJP in Uttar Pradesh can leave Congress red-faced, putting a question mark on the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.
Against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s towering image, the coalition will face a humongous task, but if it wins, the alliance will redefine politics in the Hindi heartland.