With Punjab deal sealed with Sidhu, it is over to UP for Congress

After wooing Navjot Singh Sidhu to its fold in Punjab, the Congress is heading to Uttar Pradesh to forge an alliance with Akhilesh Yadav's camp.

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New Delhi, Jan 16: For the Congress it is now over to Uttar Pradesh. For the past few days the party was locked in negotiations with cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu and with that being sorted out, the Congress will now look to seal the deal with the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party.

[Also Read: Hope Sidhu doesn't drown in 'sinking ship': Rijiju]

A meeting between Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh had been postponed as the former was busy finalising the tie-up with Sidhu.

Akhilesh Rahul

The Congress would be in talks with Akhilesh whether or not he gets to keep the party's symbol.

Akhilesh and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav have both staked a claim for the 'cycle', which is the SP's symbol. The Election Commission of India which is seized off the matter is likely to deliver its verdict before January 17.

Congress sources say that for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections 2017, it is keen on a tie-up with Akhilesh. As per the advise given by Prashant Kishore, the party's poll strategist in UP, the Congress must go with Akhilesh and seek 60 to 70 seats to contest.

Further Kishore also advised that in the event of a tie-up, the party must use both Priyanka Gandhi and Dimple Yadav as star campaigners in a bid to woo the women voters.

Even before the alliance has been finalised there are posters of Dimple and Priyanka which have come up in Allahabad. The posters with the message, "women will call the shots," clearly indicate that the both would be roped in to bring in the women votes in the UP elections.

Congress leaders say that they would enter into an alliance with Akhilesh based on the fact that whether he gets to keep the party symbol or not. The Congress cites its own example when the party's symbol had been changed in the past.

Even after the Congress' symbol was changed, it managed to win elections comfortably. Leaders of the party say that Akhilesh should not worry if he does not get to retain the 'cycle.'

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