The SP had been battling a damaging power struggle between Akhilesh and Mulayam for months. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Hours after Samajwadi Party (SP) de facto leader Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi held their first joint press conference, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav said will not campaign for the party.
Mulayam Singh, who had resolved an inter-party feud with son Akhilesh over the distribution of seats this month, told ANI on Sunday he was against the alliance.
"I will not go anywhere to campaign for this (SP-Congress) alliance. SP was capable enough to contest and win elections alone, there was no need for the alliance. I am against this alliance," the SP founder told ANI.
He seemed to be upset over the SP conceding 105 seats to the Congress, saying he was concerned about the political fate of party leaders who had lost their seats as a part of the alliance deal.
"Our party leaders whose tickets have been cut, what will they do? They have lost their chance to contest elections for the next five years," Mulayam Singh Yadav said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi addressed their first joint conference after an alliance between their parties for the high-stakes state assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The two leaders launched the campaign with the tagline "UP favours this alliance (UP ko ye saath pasand hai)." The press conference was followed by a road show in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow.
The two leaders displayed a show of solidarity, with Rahul Gandhi claiming that their relationship was not just political but also a personal one. The Congress vice-president had also called Akhilesh a "good boy" who wasn't "allowed to work".
"We are like two wheels of the same cycle - one of progress and one of prosperity. Cycle and hand is a great combination," Akhilesh had said.
Rahul Gandhi had also refused to reveal whether his mother, Congress president Sonia Gandhi or Mulayam Singh would campaign for the alliance, saying that campaign strategy would be divulged.
"If we reveal anything now, no suspense will remain," Akhilesh had said when asked about the seat-sharing in the constituencies of Rae Bareli and Amethi, earlier a point of contention between the two parties.
(WION with inputs from ANI)