After the roadshow of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, the Congress-SP alliance faces a greater challenge of taking the personal chemistry of their leaders to the grassroots level.
Rahul and Akhilesh’s relationship is being put to test in a number of assembly constituencies as candidates of both the parties are contesting election against each other there. Akhilesh had a firsthand experience of this discord during his brief stop at Aligarh on Monday. Yadav was on way for campaigning in Etah when his party’s candidate from Kol assembly constituency Ajju Ishaq informed him about Congress leader Vivek Bansal’s candidature from the seat allotted to the SP.
Uncertainty prevails about the alliance’s official candidate for the seat as the Congress gave Bansal its election symbol and the last date of withdrawal has ended on January 27. “Congress’ official list did not carry Bansal’s name. But the Congress gave him poll symbol. The chief minister is coming to Aligarh for campaigning on Tuesday. He has assured me that he will make the situation clear on Tuesday,” said Ishaq.
Bansal, however, said the Congress gave him election symbol only after discussions at the top level. “I am contesting election as a Congress candidate,” said Bansal.
A similar situation prevails on Baldev assembly seat of Mathura. The Samajwadi Party has fielded Ranvir Singh from Baldev seat while Congress has Vinesh Sanwal as its candidate. “After being informed that seat has been given to the SP, the Congress candidate went to withdraw his candidature but by the time he reached there the time for withdrawal was over,” said a senior Congress leader.
The situation is no different on Purkaji (SC) assembly seat of Muzaffarnagar. The Congress has fielded former minister Deepak Kumar from the seat. Kumar was on second position in the 2012 assembly elections. SP leader Uma Kiran has also filed her nomination papers as her party’s candidate from the seat. Kiran continued to make efforts to get an SP ticket even after the two parties reached an understanding for an alliance and failed to withdraw her nomination. “Kiran continues to be the SP candidate against Congress’ Deepak Kumar and the issue is being discussed at top level by the two parties,” said another Congress leader.
Shamli assembly seat is another case. Congress MLA Pankaj Malik has filed his nomination papers following allocation of the seat to his party. A local SP MLC’s son Manish Chauhan too has filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate against Malik.
A piquant situation prevails at Chhata assembly seat of Aligarh. The SP’s official candidate failed to get the party’s election symbol. He has been given Tractor as an election symbol while the SP leader denied the party ticket has been allotted cycle as symbol from the seat.
Senior Samajwadi Party leaders were not available for comments. Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Satyadev Tripathi said “SP and Congress have been given specific seats. Both the Congress and SP should now put pressure on such candidates to retire from the contest soon. The Congress will ask party’s candidates to retire at the earliest.”