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Mulayam?s Phoolbagh rally today

CHIEF MINISTER Mulayam Singh Yadav will flag off a rally on Monday from the historic Phoolbagh ground. Although it is a State-sponsored rally to distribute unemployment allowance to more than 12,000 youth, local SP leaders have been projecting it as an election rally. The Congress is also not far behind and it is all set to launch its election campaign in the State by holding a public meeting at the same ground on August 8. Party president Sonia Gandhi will preside over the meeting.
None | By HT Correspondent, Kanpur
PUBLISHED ON JUL 31, 2006 12:22 AM IST

CHIEF MINISTER Mulayam Singh Yadav will flag off a rally on Monday from the historic Phoolbagh ground. Although it is a State-sponsored rally to distribute unemployment allowance to more than 12,000 youth, local SP leaders have been projecting it as an election rally.

The Congress is also not far behind and it is all set to launch its election campaign in the State by holding a public meeting at the same ground on August 8. Party president Sonia Gandhi will preside over the meeting.

Staying away from the show, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has also launched a silent campaign to consolidate its vote bank and try and bring upper caste voters into its fold.

Surprisingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has remained a silent spectator to the activities of its adversaries. Apart from staging demonstrations, the BJP is yet to formulate any strategy for the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections.

Internal wrangling in the southern unit of the party came to the fore during a recent demonstration attended by State president Keshari Nath Tripathi. It is factionalism, which has relegated the party to the fringes.

However, according to the party sources a demand for a rally on the lines of the Congress rally is also being forwarded to the state leadership. According to a senior BJP leader, Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi is their first choice for the rally while national president Rajnath Singh is their second choice
Kanpur, Congress bastion in the State, is an obvious choice for the party to kick-start its election rally. The importance accorded by the Congress to the city has forced other political parties to launch their election campaign from the city, converting it into a battleground for political heavy weights.

The Congress and the BJP have closely contested the past elections while the SP was relegated to the third position. But with the SP in the saddle, the party leaders are leaving nothing to chance to bring a turn-around in the coming elections.

For Cabinet minister Surender Mohan Agarwal it is a do-or-die battle in the coming election and he has no inhibitions in expressing this openly. He is busy nurturing his Generalganj Vidhan Sabha constituency from where he had lost last two Vidhan Sabha elections.

Taking into consideration the voting trends in the past, political analysts feel that the picture is not at all rosy for the SP.

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