New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav are the chief ministerial candidates of their repective parties in Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022. And if the hint from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is anything to go by then she could be the CM face for Congress, pitting her directly against the two heavyweights in a triangular contest.
While the BJP and Samajwadi Party made their CM candidates clear early on during the election campaign, the Congress has refrained from projecting any leader for the same.
But Priyanka on Friday gave enough hints that she would be her party’s chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh when she said, “Do you see anyone else from the Congress party? You can only see my face everywhere in UP.” Her reply came in response to a question on who would be the Congress’ CM face in the state.
She also stated that the Congress is yet to take a call on asking her to contest the Assembly election. “We have not decided on me contesting the election. We will let you know when the decision is taken,” she added while addressing the media after launching her party’s youth manifesto called Bharti Vidhan with her brother Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress General Secretary also stated that she was open to joining hands with like-minded parties for a post-poll alliance provided that the common agenda of the government includes the promises made by her party.
Almost three weeks back on December 31, 2021, the Uttar Pradesh Mahila Congress had tweeted a collage of former Akhilesh Yadav, Yogi Adityanath and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with the captions nirasha (hopelessness), jhansa (deception) and asha (hope) respectively.
Priyanka’s Assembly constituency, if and when she decides to contest the state election, will be interesting to note. Amethi-Rae Bareli belt in central Uttar Pradesh used to be a Congress stronghold, at least in the Lok Sabha elections, but in 2019, her brother Rahul Gandhi lost against BJP’s Smriti Irani from Amethi. Their mother Sonia Gandhi, however, retained Rae Bareli.
Yogi Adityanath and Akhilesh Yadav, too, are contesting their first Assembly election in the 2022 polls.
Yogi will contest from Gorakhpur Sadar in eastern Uttar Pradesh which is part of the Lok Sabha constituency which he has represented for five consecutive terms from 2009 to 2014. Akhilesh too has made it clear that he would contest the Assembly election although he is yet to decide on a constituency. He is likely to contest from Karhal Assembly constituency in Mainpuri district.
While BJP had secured a landslide mandate in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, the Samajwadi Party has been its strongest rival having won in 2012. The Congress, on the other hand, has been out of power in Uttar Pradesh for the last three decades.