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Akhilesh Yadav wins ‘cycle race’, stage set for grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh

NEW DELHI: Several opposition leaders extended their support to UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav after the EC allotted the bicycle symbol to the Samajwadi Party (SP) group led by him. Some hoped that the development would bring “secular” parties together on a platform against BJP in UP polls.

Senior Congress member Sheila Dikshit was among those who congratulated Akhilesh. With the EC ruling, talks for an alliance between the Akhilesh group and Congress in UP are likely to gather steam. Dikshit, Congress’s CM face for the UP polls, had earlier indicated that she was ready to step back if Congress decided to have an alliance with Akhilesh.

RJD boss Lalu Prasad made a fervent appeal to SP patriarch Mulalyam Singh to give blessings to his son and fight the UP polls unitedly. “The state is sure to get a secular and progressive government after the elections under Akhilesh’s leadership,” Lalu tweeted. Lalu’s youngest daughter Raj Lakshmi is married to Mulayam’s grandnephew and Lok Sabha member Tej Pratap.

Earlier in the day, Lalu told Congressmen at a function in Patna that Akhilesh’s wife Dimple and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi had already “got into a pact to take on communal forces” in UP. He said he spoke to Sonia a few days ago and claimed that she has agreed to campaign with him in UP polls.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has also thrown his lot behind Akhilesh. JD(U) is part of a five-party alliance in UP. “Our alliance is in talks with the Akhilesh group,” a senior JD(U) member told TOI.

However, even if the alliance against BJP materialises in UP, it would be a three-way contest with SP’s bitter rival BSP in fray.

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Source:Times of India