Rahul, Akhilesh share stage: ‘BJP will get 150’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Rahul, Akhilesh share stage: ‘BJP will get 150’

By, Ghaziabad
Apr 18, 2024 01:29 AM IST

The comments came day after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that the BJP was going to be restricted under 200 seats.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to be reduced to 150 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls because of a strong undercurrent in favour of the Opposition, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday in a joint press conference with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, a strong remark that comes two days before general elections kick off.

Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradeshh, India - April 17, 2024: Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav  addressing a joint press conference of INDIA parties at Kaushambi (Ghaziabad), in Uttar Pradesh, India, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Photo by Ajay Aggarwal/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradeshh, India - April 17, 2024: Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav  addressing a joint press conference of INDIA parties at Kaushambi (Ghaziabad), in Uttar Pradesh, India, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Photo by Ajay Aggarwal/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

Gandhi also called the now-scrapped electoral bonds the world’s biggest “extortion scheme” and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a “champion of corruption” . Yadav said that “winds of change” were blowing from western Uttar Pradesh and there will be an INDIA bloc “clean sweep” from Ghaziabad to Ghazipur.

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“Just 15-20 days ago, it seemed that the BJP would go up to 180 seats. Now it seems that it will go up to 150 seats only,” Gandhi said. “We are getting reports from every state that our position is getting stronger and there is an undercurrent (in favour of the INDIA bloc). As far as the alliance in Uttar Pradesh is concerned, our alliance is very powerful. Our performance will be very good.”

The comments came a day after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, another prominent member of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, said that the BJP was going to be restricted under 200 seats. The back-to-back statements fuelled speculation that the Opposition was looking to undercut the BJP’s campaign narrative that it was on course to winning 370 seats on it own and over 400 with allies.

The Congress and the SP are fighting in alliance — the former is contesting 17 seats while the latter and other allies are fighting from 63 — across the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP, where the BJP holds 62 seats.

Yadav urged the people to ensure that their votes were not divided and asked them to guard their booths to ensure a wipeout of the BJP. “The winds that are blowing from the west are going to change the environment of the whole state and the country,” he said.

The first and the largest phase of the polls, comprising 102 seats across 21 states and Union territories, will be held on Friday. Eight seats in western UP are among the constituencies that will vote in the first phase.

In the press conference, Gandhi referred to Modi’s recent comment that the electoral bonds were brought for transparency an interview with a news agency ANI and dismissed them as “scripted” and a “flop show”. He asked why the Supreme Court scrapped the scheme. “If you wanted to bring transparency, why did you hide the names of those who gave money to the BJP? And why did you hide the dates on which they gave them the money.”

He said no matter how many clarification Modi gave, it would not make any difference. “The entire country knows that the PM is the champion of corruption,” Gandhi said.

Read Here: Rahul-Akhilesh to address first joint public meeting in Amroha on April 20

Yadav also attacked the BJP over electoral bonds, saying the top court’s decision to scrap the political funding scheme had shaken the party. “They are not only taking corrupt people but also keeping the money earned by the corrupt.” Yadav said.

Gandhi said the 2024 elections were about ideology.

“The BJP and RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] are trying to destroy the Constitution and the democratic system...the INDIA and Congress are trying to defend and protect the Constitution and democracy,” he said.

He called unemployment the biggest and inflation the second-biggest election issue. “The BJP is engaged in creating distractions...Neither the PM nor the BJP talks about the issues…Sometimes the PM goes under water in the ocean and sometimes he is on a seaplane but does not talk about issues,” he said.

When asked how many seats he expects the Congress-SP alliance to win, Gandhi said that he could not predict the number of seats but added that the coalition would do very well .

Yadav called the INDIA bloc the “new hope” while praising the Congress manifesto, which promises a legal guarantee for minimum support prices. “The day the farmers start getting remunerative prices for their crops, the country will be free of poverty,” the SP chief said.

Yadav said the PDA (Pichhde, Dalit aur Alpsankhyak) will defeat the NDA. “The people of the country want change... I am confident that an INDIA bloc government will be formed,” he said.

BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said everybody knows that Modi will return as PM, adding that BJP-led alliance will win over 400 Lok Sabha seats in the national elections.

“Everybody knows that aayega to Modi hi’,” he said. Trivedi also slammed the opposition leaders for calling the electoral bond scheme as a scam, accusing the Congress and the Trinamool Congress collected hundreds of crores of rupees through these bonds. Those who collected money are calling it a scam, he alleged.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Fareeha Iftikhar is a Special Correspondent with the national political bureau of the Hindustan Times. She tracks the education ministry, and covers the beat at the national level for the newspaper. She also writes on issues related to gender, human rights and different policy matters.

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