Gujarat Assembly polls: SP to contest 5 seats, support Cong in rest: Akhilesh

23 Oct 2017

The Samajwadi Party will contest five of the 182 assembly seats in Gujarat and support the Congress in the rest, party president Akhilesh Yadav today said.He said the party did not want a split in the anti-BJP votes and hence would contest only the seats where it has got strong organisational base.

"In Gujarat, we will be contesting five seats where our organisation is strong. We are not going to weaken the fight there (against the BJP). In the rest of the seats, the party will support Congress," the former UP chief minister told newspersons here. The Congress and the Samajwadi Party had struck an alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the Assembly elections earlier this year. The Congress had contested 105 of the 403 seats while the SP battled it out in 298 seats. Asked, if he would campaign in Gujarat, the SP chief said: "I will campaign where our candidates are in fray. If any other party approaches me, I can campaign for it."

Asked about the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to religious places, Yadav downplayed it, saying: "I have also visited all religious places during my school tours. During Diwali, I also prayed with my family."  When asked about the allegations of Narendra Patel, an activist of Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, that he was offered Rs 1 crore for joining the BJP, Yadav took a swipe at the saffron party, saying it was the "most honest" party. "How can it do so?" He also "advised" the mediapersons not to run the story, "otherwise your channel will be closed". On the raging Taj Mahal controversy, he said it was the identity of the country and the "Prime Minister had himself said in his speech that there was a need to attract tourism in the country".

"Had our government got NGT (National Green Tribunal) permission, we would have done more beautification work around the Taj," said Akhilesh, who was the chief minister of the state from 2012 to March 2017.