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UP elections 2017: What Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi have said so far

LiveMint logoLiveMint 22-02-2017 Livemint

New Delhi: Akhilesh Yadav is leading the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) campaign in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections taking over the baton from his father and party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. Akhilesh’s bid to return his party to power for a consecutive term began relatively late due to the power struggle with his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav.

The young Samajwadi leader is banking on his clean image and ‘kaam bolta hai ’ (work speaks) pitch in his campaign speeches, while also targeting the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation drive as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s attempt to polarize voters. Akhilesh is also hoping that the SP alliance with the Congress party will prevent a vote split among Muslims, who form the party’s core constituency.

Akhilesh has hit the campaign trail along with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the last few weeks, addressing multiple rallies across Uttar Pradesh, which is undergoing polling in seven phases.

Here are some of the main highlights from Akhilesh and Rahul Gandhi’s speeches from their campaign in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections 2017:

■ Banda, 20 February: “In 2014 Modi said ‘Ganga maiya has called her son to Varanasi’. He said Varanasi was his mother and he was the son of Varanasi...Modiji, relations are nurtured and not claimed,” Rahul Gandhi said at an election meeting in Banda taking a dig at Modi’s “adopted son of Uttar Pradesh” remark.

“Modiji if you have made relations with the people of UP you will also have to maintain them,” he said.

On the SP-Congress alliance, Rahul said, “Earlier Prime Minister used to be in a good mood but ever since Congress and SP have formed an alliance, he has lost the smile on his face. ”

■ Jhansi, 19 February: “BJP has put common man in queue for their own money. Now in the elections they will once again queue up against BJP. BJP has come to know about the people’s mind and after the third and fourth phase, blood pressure of BJP leaders will have to be checked,” Akhilesh told a rally with Rahul by his side. “When PM needs water in between his address and he has to wipe his sweat, then think how much people will make him sweat,” he said.

Rahul also joined, “Like after Bihar polls Modi did not utter the word Bihar, he will forget UP till 2019. After showing film of ‘acche din’ to people, now he (PM) is acting like Gabbar Singh of Sholay and says he wants to fight corruption and turned your hard-earned money into paper. Now people will take revenge.”

Also read | PM Narendra Modi’s Uttar Pradesh assembly poll speeches: Highlights

■ Unnao, 15 February: “Buaji (aunty–Mayawati) is saying she will sit in the opposition if she is unable to form government. Elections are not over yet, but she is ready to sit in the opposition. She cannot be relied upon. She can join hands with anyone. She had celebrated ‘Rakshabandhan’ with a BJP leader earlier and she can do it in the future also,” Akhilesh said.

■ Lucknow, 11 February: “Modi likes to read janampatri (horoscope), search Google and peep into the bathrooms of people...but he is a failure as a prime minister,” he said at a joint press conference with Akhilesh where the SP-Congress alliance released a 10-point Common Minimum Programme. “He (Modi) can do this (peeping into bathrooms) in his free time,” Rahul said.

“Happy with initial voting trend in first phase of polling...first votes went to SP-Cong alliance and so alliance will be ahead” Akhilesh said while reacting on the first phase of polling in western Uttar Pradesh.

■ New Delhi, 29 January: “People want this alliance to be successful. If the cycle gets a hand then imagine how fast the cycle can move. These are the wheels of development. There is no doubt that we will get more than 300 seats,” Akhilesh, said calling the SP-Congress, a people’s alliance.

■ Sultanpur, 25 January: “The public has made its mind this time that if anyone will win, it will be the cyclewala,” Akhilesh Yadav said at a rally in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh kick-starting his campaign for the upcoming assembly election.

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