BIHAR: BOOM TIME FOR BOOTLEGGERS
LGETTING INVOLVED Priyanka Gandhi leaving the residence of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad after a meeting ike an exhumed corpse that sits up without warning, the Congress finds itself resuscitated by its alliance with the Samajwadi Party. Fresh energy seems to have been infused into the Uttar Pradesh polls too, which begin on February 11. After fevered speculation and wide acknowledgement that a tie-up would be the obvious counter to a BJP that had enjoyed great success in UP in the 2014 general election, annexing 71 of 80 seats, the worst-kept secret in town was confirmed on Sunday evening, January 22, at a luxury hotel in Lucknow.
The Congress will field candidates in 105 seats and senior partner SP in 298. Some last-minute haggling led to further speculation and rubbernecking in the press before Congress general secretary Ahmed Patel confirmed on Twitter that an agreement had been reached. Patel, who doubles as Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s Man Friday, namechecked Priyanka Gandhi in particular. Sources familiar with the negotiations said several senior leaders in both the SP and Congress were unhappy and tried to block the alliance.
But in refuting one set of speculative reports, Patel set off a flurry of further excited speculation. Exactly what role