New Delhi: An undercover secret deal of the Congress with the SP-BSP alliance in UP is out with its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s sensational confession the Congress candidates were carefully chosen to damage the BJP’s prospects and help the combine put up by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. The truth came out in her television interview on Wednesday the Congress deliberately picked up weaker candidates by design to harm the BJP and help the SP-BSP combine as she said: “I will rather die before helping the BJP. I can’t support such a destructive ideology. All my candidates will cut into BJP’s votes.”
While the Congress leaders say her disclosure is a tactical ploy to lessen confusion among the “secular” voters, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley was quick to tweet that the Congress is no longer a mainstream party but a fringe organisation as clear from its own leaders that the Congress has now become a “Vote katwa” (cutting votes of others). Congress leaders felt Priyanka has gone overboard that may harm even “strong” Congress candidates in around a dozen constituencies, but others say she opted to speak out on learning from the ground level the anti-BJP votes were getting substantially split, helping PM Modi and his party.
They say Priyanka has sent out a clear message to Dalits and Muslims they should prefer voting the candidates of the SP-BSP combine instead of wasting their votes on weak Cong candidates. Sources said she got the feedback on the split among the Muslim voters was helping BJP in many constituencies. She knows the Congress candidates are in the reckoning in 12-15 of the 80 seats and so all the resources have been directed towards them. Priyanka is selectively touring only these constituencies where the Congress can win but she still felt the need to stress the point the larger objective of defeating BJP should not be undermined at this critical stage.
Those involved in the selection of candidates in UP admit those who can harm the BJP prospects were picked up by design and that is why there is high presence of the upper caste Hindus in the fray on the Congress ticket. They said originally Rahul wanted to be part of the SP-BSP combine, but he agreed with the strategy of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, a former CM, Congress can help the combine better by contesting separately to capture the votes traditionally go to BJP. It was this strategy under which the Congress is playing a second fiddle to the combine in 60 of the 80 seats in the state even while the triangular fight in the remaining is cutting both ways.
Replying to Union Minister Smriti Iran’s comment of keeping children of cultured families away from her, she said BJP edited video and twisted the truth. “I stopped children from saying slogans which I didn’t think were correct about the PM. The BJP has edited the tape and removed the part where I was stopping children and they are making this allegation which is typical of them. They twist the truth but I speak the truth,” she said. Meanwhile, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights issued a notice to Cong general secy for UP East Priyanka Gandhi about a video showing kids “are being actively involved in campaigning” and can be seen “shouting slogans”.