Sheila withdraws as UP CM candidate, says time for younger generation to take over

New Delhi [India]: Hours after the Congress and Samajwadi Party joined hands for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, Sheila Dikshit on Sunday withdrew herself as the state chief ministerial candidate, saying it is time for the younger generation to take over.

Dikshit said there cannot be two chief ministerial faces in an alliance in the politically crucial state.

“We have got a major relief as discussion on this was going on for a very long time. Now both the parties have come together. Their pledge of defeating the communal forces is in itself very much appreciable. I will take up whatever role is given to me. When this discussion started 10-15 days ago, I had said at that time only that there cannot be face of two chief ministers if alliance takes place. So, I withdraw myself as Uttar Pradesh chief ministerial candidate…the younger generation should come forward,” Dikshit told ANI.

The Congress veteran stated that the main reason for the Congress to come to power is development for the nation.

“Rahul ji has said the same thing. It should be left on the people to decide whom they want,” she added.

Dikshit, however, refused to comment anything on the Samajwadi Party dispute.

“That’s their family matter…I do not want to comment on that,” Dikshit said when asked about Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh and brother Shivpal Yadav’s absence during the release of party’s election manifesto.

Firming up an alliance for next month’s high-voltage Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, the Samajwadi Party and Congress today vowed to make Akhilesh Yadav the Chief Minister of the politically crucial state yet again, while promising to free the state from communal forces.

As part of the alliance, the Samajwadi Party will contest on 298 seats while the Congress will field its candidates in 105 seats.

Hailing the alliance as ‘historic’, Samajwadi Party’s Uttar Pradesh chief Naresh Uttam said both parties will initiate a historic era by halting the BSP and BJP.

Congress’ Uttar Pradesh unit president Raj Babbar on his part said the alliance will make a concerted effort towards strengthening secularism and goodwill in the society.

The formal announcement of SP-Congress alliance has come after huge discussions by the two sides over few days before they agreed to 298-105 formula.

The negotiation was said to have hit a roadblock yesterday, when the Congress rejected the SP’s offer.

The poll process in Uttar Pradesh begins on February 11.

73 constituencies in western Uttar Pradesh will go polls in this phase. The filing of nominations for these constituencies will end on January 24.

Uttar Pradesh is set to have a seven-phase polling between February 11 and March 8. (ANI)