In what has been described as reciprocal gesture, the Congress has withdrawn its candidates against Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav in UP Assembly elections.

The Congress candidates in Karhal in Mainpuri and Jaswantnagar in Etawah have bowed out of the contest. Both seats vote in the third phase of polling in the state on February 20. While Akhilesh is contesting the Karhal seat, Shivpal is in the fray from Jaswantnagar seat.

Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in Amethi to kickstart Pratgya Yatra on Dec. 18, 2021IANS

It is noteworthy that the SP had not fielded any candidates against Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi in Amethi and Rae Bareli in the last Lok Sabha elections. This is seen as a reciprocal gesture.

Uttar Pradesh Congress General Secretary Prakash Pradhan confirmed that, "Since they had not fielded anyone against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, we have reciprocated." Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary also said that this is a 'reciprocal gesture' by the Congress.

Akhilesh Yadav
Samajwadi Party MP Akhilesh Yadav talks to the media at Parliament in New Delhi.IANS

Asked about the development, BJP candidate and union minister S.P. Singh Baghel said, "This decision is not surprising. Both the SP and Congress are hand-in-glove and we will win the seat."

Meanwhile, Congress sources said that if Priyanka Gandhi finally does decide to contest the assembly elections from Rae Bareli which goes to polls on February 27 in the fourth phase, SP may not pitch its candidate against her.

Rebel Congress leader and former MLA, Aditi Singh, has already challenged Priyanka Gandhi to contest the elections against her.

(With inputs from IANS)