Congress not even in race in UP: MoS Baghel

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The Congress is not even in race in Uttar Pradesh assembly polls and if they are projecting Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as a chief ministerial candidate, it can be just too bad for her political career, Union Minister of State of Law, S.P. Singh Baghel said on Thursday.

“Earlier, I used to fear, if Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi, who visit only Amethi or Rai Bareli, ventured out across Uttar Pradesh, there could have been a wave of support. People may remember Youth Congress days, they equate Priyanka as looking like Indira Gandhi. But it has not worked at all. And if Priyanka is being projected as a Chief Ministerial candidate, this can be just too bad for her,” Baghel told IANS after casting vote in Agra (South) constituency for the phase I of the seven phase assembly polls to the UP assembly.

Baghel was replying to a question about Congress’ attack on Prime Minister giving a longish television interview hours before the phase I polls. “The road to Delhi goes from Uttar Pradesh. The Congress is not seen anywhere. If at all, only those who are not originally from Congress, will win; those leaders with ground support who did not get tickets from their parties SP, BJP or BSP. Those originally from Congress are not going to win; they are all in a pathetic situation.”

Asked if the BJP will garner full support or go in for a coalition in view of the rural distress, Baghel – who is fighting from the Karhal seat against Akhilesh Yadav – said, “When he came there for filing nomination, he had declared karyakartas will fight the election, I will come straight on March 10 (day of the result) when we will win by a margin of 1.5 lakh. I challenged him that he will be forced to come here again. And he did come on February 6. (SP family members) Ram Gopal ji is camping in the area, Dharmendra, Dimple, Akshay are all out there asking for votes. This is an indication of their response.”

He also tried to downplay allegations that he is going against Mulayam Singh Yadav, saying, “I quit police service 29 years ago, why are they (SP) still talking about my past connection with Mulayam as his security officer? I am in active politics in Agra for the last 25 years, have won three elections, been in Rajya Sabha, was a minister in Yogi government and had I not resigned and contested Agra Lok Sabha seat, you would have been interviewing me as a UP Cabinet Minister.”

To a question if West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s campaigning in Uttar Pradesh will damage BJP’s prospects, Baghel said, “Mamata Di neither has any admirer nor any voter in the entire Uttar Pradesh. Had she not resorted to fascist tactics, had she not captured booths, had she not repressed BJP workers, not gotten them killed, she would have lost Bengal too. The BJP got 70 seats is an indication that we have reached the semi-finals. Long time ago, Chanakya had said, if the king is very popular, then enemy of the enemy will find an opportunity as a friend. Same is being done by Akhilesh and Mamata Di.”

Baghel sounded confident that BJP will win over 300 seats with ease. “The 2014 Parliament election ended the SP-BSP alternate game that Uttar Pradesh had witnessed since 1989 and now it is the Modi-Yogi story.

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