Lucknow, October 26
A banner describing senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as the '2024 prime minister' appeared outside the party office here on Thursday, days after the Samajwadi Party office here put up a similar poster calling its party chief Akhilesh Yadav the country's 'future prime minister'.
The Congress hoarding also described its state president Ajay Rai as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 2027.
Responding to the poster, Samajwadi Party (SP) state spokesperson Fakhrul Hasan 'Chand' who had put up Yadav's poster said it was their party which was fighting the battle of backwards, Dalits and minorities, so it did not matter how many posters the Congress put up as people wanted Yadav as the prime minister.
The large banner describing the SP supremo as the 'future prime minister' put up on Monday by a party worker generated a buzz in political circles.
The ruling BJP described it as "Mungeri Lal ke haseen sapne (a pipedream)" of Yadav's associates and an attempt to put pressure on other members of the INDIA opposition grouping.
The Congress hoarding put up by party worker Nitant Singh Nitin carries the pictures of Rahul Gandhi and Ajay Rai with the slogan "2024 mein Rahul, 2027 mein Rai, desh-pradesh bol raha hai, haath ke saath aayen" (Rahul in 2024, (Ajay) Rai in 2027, both country and state are asking you to come in support of the hand (Congress symbol)).
Nitin, when asked about the banner, told PTI "This is the feeling of the party's workers. Also, the common people want to come along with the Congress in the coming days." "There will be a direct contest between Congress and BJP in the coming days and Rahul will be the prime minister and Ajay Rai will become chief minister of the state. There is growing confidence among the people towards our party," Nitin said.
Senior Congress leader Dwijendra Tripathi said the hoarding has been put up by a party worker and is an expression of what he and other workers feel. "This is often seen in politics, it is an expression of party workers' feelings," Tripathi said.
Reacting sharply, SP state spokesperson Hasan said, "Both the Congress and the BJP are the same and the Samajwadis have been saying this for long. Any party can put up posters as per their sentiment."
"It is the SP which is fighting the battle of backwards, Dalits and minorities. No matter how many posters Congress puts up, the public wants Akhilesh Yadav to be the PM. When an SP chief becomes a PM, an SP leader will become the chief minister of UP. The vote share of Congress in UP is less than that of many regional parties," Hasan said.
The poster put up by Hasan read, "Hearty congratulations and best wishes on his birthday to the future Prime Minister of the country, respected Akhilesh Yadav ji," though Yadav's official date of birth is July 1.
During the last few days, Yadav has publicly expressed his unhappiness with the Congress over the failure to arrive at a seat-sharing arrangement in Madhya Pradesh and had also referred to UPCC chief Ajay Rai as a "chirkut" (low-level) leader.
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