Akhilesh-Priyanka face-off in Uttar Pradesh

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is also the in-charge of 'Poorvanchal' (eastern UP), would be taking on both the BJP and Akhilesh, whose party had been given a majority of seats in the region in the SP-BSP alliance. Reuters file photo

Congress star campaigner and newly appointed party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav appeared to be heading for a face-off in Uttar Pradesh in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Priyanka, who is also the in-charge of 'Poorvanchal' (eastern UP), would be taking on both the BJP and Akhilesh, whose party had been given a majority of seats in the region in the SP-BSP alliance.

Interestingly, the Congress is also eyeing around a dozen seats in the eastern region, which it had won in 2009 Lok Sabha polls and fared well in the 2014 general elections.

In 2014, the Congress had won Amethi and Raebareli seats and had finished second on six seats, which included Lucknow, Kanpur, Kushinagar, Ghaziabad, Saharanpur and Barabanki.

All these Lok Sabha seats had been given to the SP and four of them are under the charge of Priyanka.

Besides, the SP would also be contesting a large number of seats in the Varanasi, Azamgarh, Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Faizabad divisions all of which were in the eastern UP region. In Varanasi, the Congress candidate had secured more votes than the SP in 2014.

In the western UP region, whose in-charge was Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Congress would be in a face-off with BSP supremo Mayawati on several Muslim-dominated seats in Moradabad, Meerut and Bareilly divisions.

Priyanka was likely to kick off her second leg of Uttar Pradesh visit from Prayagraj or Varanasi. She has plans to campaign extensively in the eastern region, especially in the constituency, where the grand old party feels it has a chance.

Congress and SP leaders have so far avoided attacking each other. Both Akhilesh and Congress president Rahul Gandhi have directed the workers of their parties not to target each other leaving room for a post-poll tie-up.

"It may not continue for long...once the campaigning starts, the attacks will also start," said a senior UP Congress leader while speaking to DH here.

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Akhilesh-Priyanka face-off in Uttar Pradesh

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