Congress on Friday claimed that its election strategist Prashant Kishor met Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in his “personal capacity” and that it had nothing to do with any proposed alliance ahead of the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh early next year. UP Congress chief Raj Babbar also claimed that Kishor was not hired as party’s “poll strategist”.
“Prashantji is not the strategist of our party but has been roped in for taking the party’s ideology and what it stands for among the people in a better and effective manner using modern technology in the polls. Ultimately, it is our workers, who work at the grassroot level. While people take time to adopt to any new experiment, now our worker are clear about the role that they would play,” Babbar said.
He further said, “As far as his meeting (with Mulayam) is concerned, I can say that there have been no talks of alliance. Neither have we contacted anyone, nor has anyone contacted us. Moreover, even Prashant Kishor has clarified that he did not meet them on our behalf, so there is no point to question him.”
Babbar said talks about a probable alliance started making rounds as Samajwadi Party had supported the Congress-led UPA government in 2004 and 2009. He said that no initiative has been taken for an alliance either by his party or by any other political party but added that “Congress has not closed its doors for any such possibility which could benefit people of the state.”
The PCC president, however, stressed that “the party will not enter into an alliance or grand alliance only for numbers, as numbers were not important in UP polls.”
Asked if Congress had got invitation from Samajwadi Party for its silver jubilee function Saturday, in which all other leaders of the prospective grand alliance have been invited, Babbar said he was not aware “if any senior Congress leader is coming here to attend the event.”
When asked whether he will attend the SP function if invited, Babbar said, “If I get an invitation, I will welcome it and ask my leadership as to what has to be done.” The PCC chief, who was with SP before joining Congress, said he always respected Mulayam as “I am in active politics because of him and will always bow before him.”
To a question on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra taking part in UP elections, he said she has promised that she will give time for campaigning but more details are still awaited. “We have requested Priyankaji and she has promised that she will come soon. But how much time she will give and how long she will accompany us are yet to be discussed for chalking out her programme,” the Congress leader said, adding if Priyanka gives enough time she could be taken across all the 403 constituencies.
Asked if the party’s 27 year “vanvaas (political exile)” end in the upcoming elections, Babbar said, he was confident that people will vote for development and “BJP is all set to lose the election.”
Babbar said party’s next campaign would promise “Shiksha, Suraksha and Swabhiman” to poor and especially Dalits across the state. He said it would be a door-to-door campaign and start from second or third week of November. Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi has already been invited for the campaign.
He also defended Rahul Gandhi for his protest over alleged suicide by an army veteran Ram Kishan Grewal in Delhi over implementation of OROP scheme. Babbar also hit out at Union minister V K Singh for his remarks about Grewal’s mental health, saying he needs medical treatment as he has lost his mental balance.