The Samajwadi Party-Congress grouping is poised to take power in Uttar Pradesh and both parties are gelling well despite minor hiccups, Congress leader Jitin Prasada has said.
Prasada, who could become the Deputy Chief Minister if the alliance takes power, credited Priyanka Gandhi with making possible the electoral tie-up.
The former minister in the UPA government said the alliance would also help the Congress to revive itself across the sprawling and the country’s most populous state where it has been out of power since 1989.
“Our alliance is going to come into power. People are giving overwhelming response to us,” Prasada told IANS in this Uttar Pradesh district that votes on Wednesday with 66 other assembly constituencies in the second phase of assembly elections.
“The reports after the first phase of polling is phenomenal,” said Prasada, who is contesting from Tilhar constituency.
He said that coordination between the activists of the two parties was “impressive”.
Prasada said Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka played a key role in stitching together the Congress-SP alliance.
He said the hiccups between the candidates of the two parties in Amethi and Rae Bareli were aberrations after some Congress workers refused to support two Samajwadi Party nominees.
Defining the alliance with the Samajwadi Party as a “strategic” decision, Prasada said his party would revive itself in all the 403 seats in Uttar Pradesh despite fielding candidates in only 105 constituencies.
“To achieve big goals, some strategy is made. So the decision to contest on 105 seats is a part of the strategic decision to revive the Congress on all the assembly seats in the state.”
The Congress and Samajdwadi Party in January announced to jointly fight the assembly polls that is expected to set the course for the 2019 Lok Sabha battle. Some leaders from both sides have hinted that the alliance will continue for the general election.
The mood outside the Prasada Bhawan in Khirni Bagh area where Prasada lives with his family is festive. His supporters frequently troop in chanting slogans and flashing Congress and Samajwadi Party flags.
Tilhar is represented by BSP’s Roshan Lal Verma, who has shifted to the BJP now and is seeking re-election.
Prasada said the language of BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was defeatist.
“The frustration is visible in their language,” he said, referring to Modi’s “bathing with raincoat on” jibe at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“The language shows they are losing ground rapidly in the state… We are confident of getting a thumping victory,” said the son of the late Jitendra Prasada, who was political advisor to two Prime Ministers: Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao.
Jitin Prasada began his political career in 2001 as a Youth Congress worker. He was first elected to the Lok Sabha from Shahjahanpur in 2004. He won in 2009 from Dhaurahara, near here, and was made a junior minister in the UPA government. He lost the 2014 election in Dhaurahara.