LUCKNOW: Pushed to the wall by the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in UP, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday, reiterated its resolve to go at full throttle in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in UP by saying that the party would now play only on the front foot.
“We will fight the upcoming elections with our full might. We are doing politics for the people, their welfare and their development, so we will now play only on the front foot and not on back foot,” said the Congress chief while paying a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency Amethi on Wednesday.
But having said that, the Congress chief took a conciliatory tone while referring to the SP-BSP alliance in the state keeping the window for any prospective talks with them under the changed scenario open.
“I respect Mayawatiji and Akhilesh a lot. They have the right to decide their course. Our aim is a common aim and that is to defeat the BJP,” he said adding that there was still room for talks. “We will cooperate with each other wherever needed...They can come and talk to us. All three of us, the Congress, SP and BSP, want to defeat the BJP,” he said.
The Congress could win only two Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 elections and just seven seats in the assembly when it had tied up with the SP in 2017.
Calling it a matter of personal contentment, the Congress chief said whether it's Priyanka or Jyotiraditya, through these youth leaders, he wanted to change the politics of UP. “We are confident that Priyanka will bring out Congress' ideology and take it forward further,” he hoped.
“Our ideology is to stand and fight for the poor, the youth, the farmers. Both Priyanka and Jyotiraditya are very capable and dynamic, and will surely take the Congress forward in UP," she said.
Rahul's comments came hours after Priyanka became AICC general secretary and was put in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, and Scindia was given charge of western Uttar Pradesh.
Speaking at a rally in Amethi, Gandhi said Priyanka’s appointment will come as a game changer in UP politics.
"Today I made Priyanka Gandhi the general secretary in UP. This means we will now make a Congress CM sit in UP and also a coalition government in Delhi [Centre]," he asserted.
To a question if Priyanka will contest the Lok Sabha election, he said it would be entirely her decision, adding, "I feel her appointment will usher in a new kind of thinking and bring a positive change in Uttar Pradesh politics."
Training his guns at the Yogi government, the Congress chief said, "The youth of the state, irrespective of caste, creed, have seen how the state has been harmed. They have seen corruption...we want to fulfil a new dream...BJP people are also worried."
However, he did not mince words in attacking PM Narendra Modi and accused him of depriving Amethi of its due by blocking its development. “Chowkidaar has taken away all the development projects out of Amethi,” he claimed.
The Congress chief had to face a strong protest by the farmers who were raising anti-Congress slogans accusing Rahul Gandhi of not doing anything for the farmers of his constituency. The Congress chief faced those protests while on his way to Gauriganj assembly segment.
The Congress president arrived in Amethi in the morning on a two-day tour of his parliamentary constituency. He laid the foundation stone of 18 development projects in Fursatganj.