Joint "alliance campaign" on the cards for SP-Cong, "27 saal, UP Behaal" to be forgotten

Joint "alliance campaign" on the cards for SP-Cong, "27 saal, UP Behaal" to be forgotten

Author | Saif Ahmad Khan | Monday, Jan 30,2017 8:11 AM

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Joint "alliance campaign" on the cards for SP-Cong, "27 saal, UP Behaal" to be forgotten

The electoral pact between the Samajwadi Party and Indian National Congress may lead to a joint “alliance campaign” during the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election, say sources. Presently, the functionaries of the two parties are devising what is being described as a joint exercise in terms of electioneering. A source associated with political imaging since long explained that if the idea materialises then it will be a “big thing” in the “history of political advertising” with integration being its hallmark.

Initially, the Congress had entered the poll season with the campaign slogan of “27 saal, UP behaal”. The slogan was a clear and unambiguous dig at 27 years of combined rule of SP, BSP and BJP in Uttar Pradesh. ND Tiwari, who joined the BJP earlier this month, served as the last Congress Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh until December 1989.

Interestingly, the alliance with SP may result in the Congress forsaking their slogan. A Congress strategist felt that it’s a small thing which the people will not remember. “People forgave Modi even after he left his wife,” said the leader. Several other examples were referred to including Uma Bharti labelling Modi as a “vinaash purush” and later becoming a cabinet minister in Modi Sarkar. Similarly, old utterances did not come either in the way of JD(U) and RJD’s alliance or Navjot Singh Sidhu’s Congress entry. 

Addressing a rally recently, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said, “The cycle (SP symbol) was alone but now with the help of the hand (Congress), its speed has increased.” Citing the comment, an insider said that discussions currently underway regarding the joint campaign might unleash a political blitzkrieg that has never been seen before in India.    

It was mentioned that a joint campaign was missing in the case of maha gathbandhan when Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD came together in Bihar to take on the BJP. Elaborating on the concept, the source added that an alliance usually results in one party “taking the backseat”. Hence, the focus has always been either on the BJP or Congress even when grand alliances of multiple parties has taken shape in the form of NDA or UPA.

As per the Congress, states like Punjab have historically seen the Akalis assume the centre stage and market their achievements during the poll season. The BJP, according to them, plays the second-fiddle. But, if sources are to be believed, SP-Congress “alliance campaign” is not going to be on the same lines. The theme of “Apne UP ke ladke” featuring both Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi can be seen as a corroboration of the two parties being marketed on an equal footing.   

While Samajwadi Party banks on the Yadav vote bank, Congress stated that they draw in voters from different communities including Brahmins, Thakurs and Dalits. “Muslims are a common factor,” said a source. The alliance is eyeing to win around 250 seats which they believe can be achieved by consolidating 35% of the entire vote share. As part of the coalition, SP will contest on 298 seats whereas the Congress will fight for 105 assembly constituencies.

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