On the day of polling for the first phase of elections, being held on 73 assembly constituencies of western UP, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and CM Akhilesh Yadav would jointly declare “10 key priorities” of their alliance in Lucknow Saturday. Promises of free smartphones for over 1 crore youths, loan waiver for farmers, 50 lakh jobs for youths and bicycles for girls studying in Classes IX to XII will be on the list, said sources. The list, sources said, will also include promises of better minimum support price for crops, roads, electricity and water supply for every village, new highways and a strengthened DIAL 100 service.
Although farmers’ loans can be waived only by the Centre, sources said it would find a mention in this list as it has been a focus of Rahul’s campaign. Though the Congress manifesto mentions Rahul’s promise of “Bijli Half” during his month-long “Kisan yatra”, sources said this has not been accepted by Samajwadi Party and is not likely to be part of the top 10 priorities. While Akhilesh has promised to complete the construction of Lucknow-Ballia Expressway, Congress has promised another project, ‘Ganga Highway’, that will link Garh to Gorakhpur. These would be in the priority list, sources said.
Out of the 73 seats which go to polls Saturday, Congress is contesting on 25 seats. Most of these are seats where Congress won in 2012 or SP candidates finished third or fourth. In 2012, SP won in 24 out of these 73 constituencies. Congress won the seats of Shamli, Hapur, Khurja, Syana and Mathura. All these five seats have been given to Congress as part of the seat-sharing, along with seats like Meerut Cantonment, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, Dadri and Agra South where SP nominees finished fourth.