The Priyanka Effect? SP-BSP May Rethink Congress ‘Role’ in UP Ahead of 2019 Polls
In Amethi, Union minister Smriti Irani will challenge Rahul Gandhi. She has been spending a lot of time with the voters there, making the BJP workers feel that she will make the Congress chief uncomfortable this time.

Lucknow: The newly appointed AICC general secretaries for UP east and west, Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotriaditya Scindia, along with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi are going to hold a mega-show in the state capital on Monday, ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The entry of Priyanka into formal politics has at one hand galvanized the party cadres across country but on the other hand it has also forced other political parties to rethink their strategy vis-à-vis the Congress.

Sources in the Samajwadi Party, say the party is willing to reconsider the ‘role’ of Congress as the political scenario in Uttar Pradesh is expected to change rapidly after the formal entry of Priyanka Gandhi.

Both Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party are keeping a close eye on the emerging Congress factor as now the grand old party seems more serious about the Hindi heartland, with entry of Priyanka adding strength to it ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Sources also suggest that feelers have been sent to Congress through back channels about exploring a possibility of an understanding with Congress for more than a dozen seats.

Congress in 2009 contested all the seats and won in 21, just 2 less than SP which emerged as the single largest party in the state.

SP-BSP’s rethink on UP is part of the attempt by the grand alliance to stop the division of votes, especially on the seats where Congress is in a better position.

Speaking to News18, a senior Samajwadi Party leader not wishing to be named, said, “A lot depends on how Congress can deal with BSP chief Mayawati. If Mayawati is convinced then in that case Akhilesh will not have any issues in working out an understanding with the Congress.”

However, at the moment both SP and BSP are in a wait and watch mode as a lot depends on how Priyanka intends to take the Congress party forward.

Earlier, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has also said that he has love and respect for both Mayawati and Akhilesh and Congress was willing to engage in talks if they are approached by the parties. At the moment neither SP-BSP nor Congress have declared candidates, which further push the possibility of an understanding.