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How SP and Congress turned into game changers in UP

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Shillong, June 5: The almost spectacular resurgence of the Samajwadi Party and Congress in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh was a result of a conscious effort made by both, Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav, to make the alliance work.

 

After their alliance turned out to be a fiasco in 2017, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav worked afresh on their strategy and made sure that they emerged as political game-changers on BJP’s turf in Uttar Pradesh.

 

In 2017, there was a visible discomfort in their relationship which percolated down to their respective cadres and made the alliance come a cropper.

 

After the initial hiccups over seat-sharing Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav made sure to campaign together and, more importantly, speak in one voice on all issues.

 

Both the leaders chose to ignore the barbs hurled at them by the BJP on issues like appeasement and nepotism. Not once during the campaign, did they respond to the allegations. They remained faithful to their narrative on unemployment, inflation and the Constitution.

 

The camaraderie that the two leaders displayed in public, worked as an adhesive for their cadres who finally decided to work together in elections.

 

Though SP changed candidates frequently at one point in time, Akhilesh Yadav made sure that it did not develop into a revolt of sorts. He also fortified his party in segments where his MLAs had crossed over to the BJP just ahead of the elections.

 

Rahul Gandhi, on his part, did not allow a lack of party workers in the Congress to hamper his campaign. He did not bank on local leaders and managed things with help from his core group in Delhi.

 

More importantly, the two leaders did not react to issues like Ram temple and appeasement which could have communalised the entire campaign. Neither did they go overboard with their PDA — Pichhda, Dalit, Alpasankhyak formula — but addressed a broader segment of unemployed youth, BPL families and Agniveers that cut across caste lines.

 

“In 2017, there was a visible strain in the relationship between the two parties and we sensed it but this time, Rahul and Akhilesh got along like the proverbial house on fire. We hope that the bonhomie continues till the next Assembly polls in 2027,” said a senior SP functionary. (IANS)

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