Congress and SP's 'friendly fight' in Uttar Pradesh may cost them votes
The alliance is already getting a tough fight in the state from the BJP and BSP.
The Congress has been trying to put its best food forward in its pocket borough of Amethi and Raebareli this Uttar Pradesh election. It was after much speculation and cajoling that Priyanka Gandhi hit the campaign trail, but confined it to the Gandhi pocket burrow.
In the two rallies at Maharajganj and in Amethi, both Rahul and Priyanka launched a scathing attack on Narendra Modi and blamed him for painting a rosy picture - like in the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge but "Modi turned out to be the Gabbar of Sholay".
The statement is bound to reverberate in heated political debates and snowball into a major controversy.
But beyond the rhetoric, is the statement a sign of some kind of desperation in Rahul Gandhi?
At least in Rai Bareli and Amethi, it appears the dampener comes from the Congress's own alliance partner, the Samajwadi Party.
Of the 10 seats in the two districts, the Congress and SP are locked in a friendly fight in four - in Sareni constituency, Devender Singh of SP and Ashok Singh of Congress; in Unchahar, Manoj Pandey of SP and Ajay Pal Singh of Congress; in Amethi, Gayatri Prajapati of SP and Amita Singh of Congress; and in Gauriganj, Rakesh Singh of SP and Mohammed Naeem of Congress are pitted against each other, besides other candidates.
Apparently, a consensus could not be arrived at between the alliance partners and this may prove to be highly damaging for the two parties, especially in an election where the alliance is getting a tough fight on the one hand from the BJP and on the other, the BSP.
Now while Priyanka chose to speak at the rally in Maharajganj, she remained a mute spectator in Amethi, from where tainted SP minister Gayatri Prajapati is contesting. Rahul made a call to the public to vote for the alliance, but just before that, while he addressed two rallies in Amethi, the Supreme Court intervened in a case of gangrape filed by a woman against Prajapati. The woman alleged inaction on the part of the state police in the case and filed an appeal in the apex court.
This is bound to give ammunition to the alliance's opponents like the BJP and BSP, who are already tearing into CM Akhikesh Yadav for lawlessness in UP. Crime against women has been an important poll issue for both rivals.
Priyanka apparently did not want to campaign for SP's tainted candidate Prajapati in Amethi and she thus allowed her brother to speak, while the huge audience kept waiting in the sun to listen to her.
That both the Congress and SP are locked in what they call a friendly fight may cause too much confusion for voters. It may also prevent the much expected transfer of votes between the two parties.