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UP Elections 2017: Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav to begin joint poll campaign on Sunday

 The Congress and Samajwadi Party have stitched up an electoral alliance for the UP Assembly polls starting from February 11.

UP Elections 2017: Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav to begin joint poll campaign on Sunday

Lucknow: After forging an electoral alliance, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will on Sunday hold a joint road show in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

This would be the maiden outing of the two leaders ahead of the first phase of the Assembly polls.

The two young leaders will launch a poll campaign with a tagline -- UP ko ye saath pasand hai (UP relishes this alliance), aimed at telling people that the two parties were their choice as they go to vote.

The road show will also help Congress and Samajwadi Party gauge the minds of the people towards their coming together. A joint press conference will also take place.

"The time and venue of the media interaction is yet to be finalised," a senior SP leader told PTI today.

This is for the first time that Congress and Samajwadi Party were having an alliance to win over 300 of the 403 Assembly seats.

While the Special Protection Group (SPG) that guards the Gandhi scion has been assessing the route that the road show will take, a nod from the Election Commission is also awaited.

According to sources, in case the permission does not come or there is some other security related problem, a rally would be held here.

Strategists in both camps are worried at the lukewarm interest and response shown to the alliance so far.

While the announcement of the alliance by their state unit chiefs Naresh Uttam and Raj Babbar did not create enough buzz, even the first three rallies of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in Sultanpur and Lakhimpur Kheri have not gone down too well.

"The biggest challenge before us is to impress upon the people our coming together, which as of now appears to be a daunting task, keeping in mind the lack of time," said a senior Akhilesh aide.

The two sides have however expedited work on joint rallies, and Akhilesh and Gandhi are likely to address 14 joint rallies.

The two are likely to be joined by Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at select places.

The `raths` and other publicity material of the SP have been improvised and now carry the pictures of Priyanka Gandhi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi as well.

Under the seat-sharing pact arrived at after hectic parleys between the two sides, SP gave 105 seats for Congress.

The two parties were haggling over some seats in Amethi and Raebareli, the parliamentary turf of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul. Congress is in no mood to give up its claim over all the 10 seats in Amethi and Raebareli.

Sources said the party was perturbed as none of the five candidates, declared by SP earlier, has been withdrawn.

Though both sides were more or less agreeable to a broad understanding that Congress will get 6 and SP 4 seats, local leaders and workers are not ready to give up either Amethi or Gauriganj Assembly seats from where SP has already announced its candidates.

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections will be held in seven phases, on February 11, 15, 19, 23 and 27 and on March 4 and 8.

(With Agency inputs)