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India's largest state Uttar Pradesh goes to polls

12 February 2017

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday responded to the Prime Minister's "raincoat in bathroom" jibe directed at Dr Manmohan Singh and said that Narendra Modi likes "peeping into others people's bathrooms".

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi were at their articulate best during the launch of 'Common Minimum Programme' in Lucknow today. Modi's party, the BJP, swept the state two years ago, winning 71 of its 80 state assembly seats. "Modi's anger proves that he has realised that he is losing the electoral battle", he said.

The first phase of voting, where 25.9 million people are eligible to vote, is particularly important for the BJP, which has its best chance of picking up the maximum number of seats from these constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, which has 404 assembly constituencies in total.

"If BJP loses, it would be its second major defeat since the 2015 election in Bihar state, which will prove that forming smart alignments with regional parties to beat the BJP works".

If BJP forms government in UP, Modi said, "I promise you we will form a special task force to ensure that lands looted from farmers and middle-class people would be restored".

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The other six polling phases will be held on February 15, 19, 23 and 27 and on March 4 and 8. The chief minister also said everyone's horoscope was available on the internet. "The entire country has seen it all on TV", he said, referring to the alleged sting operation in which chief minister Harish Rawat was purportedly seen negotiating a deal to buy support of disgruntled party MLAs during the political crisis past year.

#SP MLA here had levelled serious allegations against SP MP & if asked about it, Mulayamji would've said that 'boys make mistakes.

He said it is an alliance between two families, one of which "looted" the country and the other Uttar Pradesh.

Congress, whose 46-year-old likely next leader Rahul Gandhi has campaigned alongside Yadav, desperately needs a win after a dismal performance in 2014.

There have been 1,400 incidents of criminals attacking police personnel in the last five years and 24 police personnel were killed, he said.