Cong labours hard in Sonia's fort

Assembly polls 2017: 'Friendly' fight to get intense in Raebareli

Cong labours hard in Sonia's fort
The alliance between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party in the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh may be intact elsewhere, but not in Raebareli, the Lok Sabha constituency of party president Sonia Gandhi.

Of the five Assembly seats in the Lok Sabha constituency, Congress and SP nominees are facing each other on two seats — Unchahar and Sareni. Given the fact that the electorate of Raebareli, who remained loyal to Sonia, had rejected the candidates in the 2012 Assembly polls, the party finds itself in a tight corner.

The Congress exerted tremendous pressure on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to give it all the seats in Raebareli, but the SP refused to part with the two seats.

The Congress, however, managed to rope in the daughter of the independent Raebareli City MLA Akhilesh Singh, and gave her a ticket from the same seat.

Local Congress leaders said that the alliance trouble had initially prevented party’s star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from campaigning in support of the party nominees. Priyanka and her brother and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi made their first appearance here only on Friday, barely five days ahead of the polling.

Priyanka to campaign

Sources in the party said that Priyanka is likely to hold a roadshow in Raebareli before the campaigning comes to an end on Tuesday.  The friendly fight between the alliance nominees could cost the party dear in the Assembly polls. “In both Sareni and Unchahar seats, the BJP may gain owing to our fight,” a local Congress leader told DH.

He said the party nominees have urged Priyanka to hold election rallies in their constituencies to boost their electoral prospects. “The fight is not easy here... the person who votes for Sonia in the Lok Sabha polls supports rival candidates in the Assembly elections,” said Ashok Kumar Maurya, a resident of Jagatpur near Raebareli.

Local scribe Madhav Singh said that barring the Raebareli City seat, the Congress will face a tough challenge from its rivals. Congress leaders here said that a good performance in the polls in Raebareli will go a long way in boosting the morale of the workers and help the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
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