New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) As the Congress prepares to launch its second phase of campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections from August 21, the party is clear about not engaging in a pre-poll alliance with any party.
The party on Wednesday also blamed the Samajwadi Party, BSP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for divisive politics in the state.
The Congress will launch the second phase from August 21 to October 9, during which two convoys of party activists and leaders will conduct the campaign.
Speaking to the media, Congress General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in Uttar Pradesh, said: “Looking at the area and population of the state, we will cover 64-65 districts during the campaign. Rest of the districts were covered in the first phase. This is how we’ll cover all 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh.”
He said: “I am confident after the kind of response we received in our first phase of campaign full of love and support, in the next phase when we visit these 65 districts we hope we’ll receive similar support.”
Congress’ chief ministerial candidate Sheila Dikshit hit out at the state’s ruling Samajwadi Party, and the BSP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She said: “We have always been an inclusive party. We take everybody together and give everybody the opportunity according to their needs and requirements. The division in the society in the state has taken place because of these three parties.”
Asked if the party will ally with Bahujan Samaj Party after the elections, Dikshit said: “There is no question of allying just now. How can I talk of something what will happen later on? This is our stand that we’ll not ally with any of these three parties.”
Dikshit also said that ticket distribution could take place in October-November.
“The applicants for the poll tickets are being collected. By October-November the names will be decided. We have the magic of development, good governance, and make Uttar Pradesh one of the best states in the country,” she said.
Asked if she has bought a house in Lucknow, Diskshit said: “I have taken a house on rent. We cannot afford hotels. So, I have taken a small flat on rent.”
Slamming the three parties that ruled the state in the past 27 years, Azad said: “In the last 27 years, the three parties which have formed government be it Samajwadi Party, BSP and Bharatiya Janata Party, have formed government by dividing the society. We’ll form the government by uniting the society.”
“That’s why we used the slogan “27 saal, UP Behaal”. Behaal (in bad shape) not just in terms of development but also law and order and corruption. All three parties for their own interest and for power have divided the society in the name of religion and caste,” Azad added.
Azad hit out at the Samajwadi party by saying that it is not known who is the actual Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
“There are five in the cabinet from the family and 18 others are in the council of ministers. So, at least 23 are from the family. They keep blaming each other. That’s why the state is in such a condition.”
To a question that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be launching a nationalism campaign in the state, Azad said: “When it was time to participate in the freedom struggle, there was no RSS or BJP. Since they had no role in the freedom struggle, that’s why they are talking about nationalism now.”
Besides Azad and Dikshit, the others participating in the second phase will include state party chief Raj Babbar, Congress leaders Salman Khurshid, Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Pramod Tiwari and others.
Campaign convoy No. 1 will cover the districts of Lucknow, Barabanki, Bahraich, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar (Padrauna), Maharajganj, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh, Kaushambi, Allahabad, Varanasi, Azamgarh, Ambedkar Nagar (Akbarpur), Jaunpur, Sant Ravidas Nagar (Bhadoi), Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Sitapur, Lakhimpur, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Saharanpur, Aligarh, Kasganj, Sambhal, Badaun, Agra, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Auraiya, Etawah and Pilibhit.
Campaign convoy No. 2 will cover Lucknow, Faizabad, Sultanpur, Amethi, Sant Kabir Nagar (Khalilabad), Basti, Siddharth Nagar (Domariyaganj), Deoria, Ballia, Mau, Gazipur, Chandauli, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Fatehpur, Banda, Unnao, Kanpur Dehat (Akbarpur), GB Nagar, Bulandshahr, Meerut, Bijnor, Mathura, Hathras, Etah, Farrukhabad, Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalaun (Orai), Hamirpur, Mahoba and Chitrakoot.