When Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi addressed a joint press conference, the air was thick with imagery – imagery of rivers coming together to produce progress and imagery of a hand pushing a cycle, or the way around, for speedy development.
Calling Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav his friend, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the alliance of his party with the Samajwadi Party would make the northern state stronger. He added that the joint front was against the politics of aggression and fear. “And, this is no alliance of convenience,” said Gandhi.
Rahul followed Akhilesh with his “meeting of rivers” analogy.
“Have you been to the ‘sangam’ in Allahabad? We, the SP and the Congress, are like the Ganga and Yamuna. When we get together, the Saraswati of development will emerge,” the Congress leader said.
While Rahul Gandhi said that the partnership between Congress and Samajwadi Party is an answer to divisive politics of anger, an emotional Akhilesh reiterated, “We are like two wheels of bicycle…not much difference in age between us; today is the beginning.
The high stakes assembly elections will be held in seven phases starting February 11 and results of which will be declared on March 11. The two young leaders with the pre-poll alliance aim to bag over 300 of the state’s 403 Assembly seats. Posters of the joint election rally surround the venue which reads “UP koh yeh saath pasand hai” (UP likes this tie-up).
Gandhi noted that the two parties have similarities and differences too; however, he ascertained that they will contest the elections on similarities. “We will have to make some compromises also,” Gandhi said.
“We are together to condemn the politics of aggression and fear. We are for progress, prosperity and peace,” he added.
Underlining his personal equation with the UP chief minister, the Congress vice-president reiterated that the alliance had made the personal and political relationship between the two leaders better.
“If the hand is with the cycle, and the cycle is with the hand, imagine the speed,” Akhilesh said, referring to his party’s ‘cycle’ symbol and the Congress party’s ‘hand’ symbol. He pushed that image some more: “We (Rahul and I) are the two wheels of the cycle.”