UP Polls 2017: Huge crowds follow Akhilesh-Rahul road show, but rebellions brew inside
Even before Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav landed at the Dayalbagh College ground, the location where the joint road show started, the almost one km-long stretch of road was a sea of people. Red topis and Congress flags were all that you could see as far as you looked.
On asking those gathered there, the supporters said that it looked like the crowd amassed for this Akhilesh-Rahul rally in Agra was far more than the crowd for the Lucknow rally. However, the massive cheering crowds were quite a sight, especially for any Congress gathering recently in Uttar Pradesh.
Popularly known as 'UP ke ladke' - Akhilesh and Rahul Gandhi - started the rally an hour behind schedule.
The intention of this road show was to encourage respective party workers to work hard before the polls and ensure the defeat of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
The road show started near the Dayalbagh Engineering College and ended near St Peter's College, covering a distance of about five kilometres.
The camaraderie between the leaders, however, did not translate to bonhomie between the party workers at the rally, who were trying hard to upstage each other in sloganeering.
On 29 January, Rahul and Akhilesh went on their maiden road show in Lucknow. The men shared handshakes and hugs, during and after the road show, and the campaign ran with the name Vijay Yatra. The motive was to eradicate the 'politics of hate' spread by their rivals.
And while Rahul named this alliance the 'Ganga-Yamuna Sangam', UP CM Akhilesh termed the jodi as 'two wheels of the cycle'. The campaign also carries a tagline - "UP ko ye saath pasand hai".
However, it is certain that the district of Agra will be a difficult one for the alliance to win. Amongst the existing MLAs of the nine Vidhan Sabha constituencies in the district, SP has only one seat while the BSP and BJP have six and two respectively.
As a part of Catch News' People of UP series, many people in Agra from various walks of life in gave us their take on the upcoming elections.
One thing is for certain, BJP has immense support in this area at the moment. While some are upset with the state's lawlessness, others feel that it's time for Narendra Modi's BJP to come to power in UP.
Anshul Sharma, a driver for one of the Samajwadi Party vehicles at Agra's rally, feels that despite being a voice of development, Akhilesh has been unable to strengthen the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.
"Peechli baar humne Akhilesh Yadav ko vote kiya tha kyunki woh yuva leader the. Lekin unke peechle karyekaal mein UP ki kanoon vyawastha chaupat ho gayi hai. Narendra Modi ne do saal mein hi desh ke liye itne kaam kiye hai ki hum UP mein bhi unki he sarkaar chahate hai. Iss baar Samajwadi Party bilkul nahi jeetegi. (Last time we voted for Akhilesh Yadav because he was a youth leader. But over his last stint, UP's law and order situation has gone for a toss. Narendra Modi has done so much for the country in just two years and we want his government in UP now. Samajwadi Party won't win this time around)."
Moreover, party supporters aren't the only voices of rebellion. Within both Congress and SP camps differences have arisen and the SP has already declared more candidates than its share in the alliance.
What remains to be seen, however, is whether these joint road shows by Akhilesh and Rahul will be instrumental in securing a win for the alliance in UP. The duo will be in Varanasi on 11 Feb for their next road show.