India

"Astrologer": Priyanka Gandhi Scoffs At Akhilesh Yadav's "Zero Seat" Dig

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had earlier accused Akhilesh Yadav of taking forward the "politics of caste".

New Delhi:

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav's "zero seat" dismissal for the Congress has upset Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who responded with a barb today. "Akhilesh Yadav might be an astrologer that he feels Congress will get 0 seats, we'll see what happens," responded the Congress general secretary, who was given the charge of rebuilding the party in the state by Rahul Gandhi three years ago.

"The Congress is not in competition this time. They are here only for advertisement. It is possible that they may get zero seats," Mr Yadav had told reporters last week.

The jibe came a day after Ms Gandhi Vadra had accused him of running a "casteist" and "criminal" government.

At the time, Ms Gandhi Vadra also accused the Samajwadi Party chief -- as well as Mayawati -- of taking forward the "politics of caste and religion".

Pointing to the case of a 19-year-old from Bijnor who was killed during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, she said: "I want to ask if Akhileshji visited their houses. Thirteen adivasis (tribals) were killed in Sonbhadra. Did Akhileshji go there? Atrocities were committed on women in Unnao and Hathras did Akhileshji go there, did he go to Lakhimpur Kheri where people were killed? Why during election time he is moving about and his party is coming alive?" Ms Gandhi Vadra was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.

The Congress had formed an alliance with the Samajwadi Party ahead of the 2017 assembly elections and Rahul Gandhi had campaigned with Mr Yadav -- the  two pitching themselves as "UP ke ladke (boys from Uttar Pradesh)".

Mr Gandhi's Gandhi's status as the MP of Amethi -- the family turf -- was seen as enough to back up the claim.

The two, however, suffered bitter defeat at the hands of the BJP. Two years later, Mr Gandhi lost Amethi to the BJP's Smriti Irani.

The ties between the Congress and Samajwadi Party have been bitter since.

This time, the Congress appears to have been further upset by the growing affinity between Akhilesh Yadav and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.  

The Bengal Chief Minister, who is on a collision course with the Congress -- having been out to occupy its political space - has offered to come to Uttar Pradesh and campaign for Mr Yadav.

Indicating that he was open to the idea of an alternate front led by Ms Bannerjee, Mr Yadav said, "I welcome her in Uttar Pradesh".  "The way she wiped out the BJP in Bengal... the people of Uttar Pradesh will wipe out the BJP," he told reporters.