Is the SP-Congress ‘friendly contest’ keeping Priyanka away from campaign trail? | assembly-elections$uttarpradesh-2017 | Hindustan Times
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Is the SP-Congress ‘friendly contest’ keeping Priyanka away from campaign trail?

Friendly contests on four out of 10 seats of Rae Bareli and Amethi appear to be keeping Priyanka Gandhi Vadra away from campaigning in the Gandhi bastions.  The Congress and Samajwadi Party’s candidates are face-to-face on Unchahar and Sareni seats of Rae Bareli and Amethi and Gauriganj seats of Amethi Lok Sabha seat. 

assembly elections Updated: Feb 16, 2017 16:42 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Priyanka has remained on the forefront of campaigning in Rae Bareli and Amethi in the past, spending at least a day in each assembly constituency.
Priyanka has remained on the forefront of campaigning in Rae Bareli and Amethi in the past, spending at least a day in each assembly constituency.(Hindustan Times file )

Friendly contests on four out of 10 seats of Rae Bareli and Amethi appear to be keeping Priyanka Gandhi Vadra away from campaigning in the Gandhi bastions. 

Priyanka, who was one of the key architects of the alliance between the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress, has not yet addressed any rally in any of these constituencies despite requests from the local party leaders.

The Congress and the SP are locked in what is termed as a “friendly contest” in Unchahar and Sareni under Rae Bareli and Amethi and Gauriganj under Amethi parliamentary constituency.

Priyanka’s mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi represents Rae Bareli in the parliament while her brother and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi represents Amethi Lok Sabha seats.

Priyanka used to be at the forefront of the campaigning in the areas in the past, spending at least a day in each of the assembly constituencies.

Read: Smriti Irani accuses Priyanka of not campaigning in Amethi to avoid queries

Party sources said she is apparently finding it little embarrassing to campaign for the Congress in the seats where two allies are contesting against each other. It will also not be easy for her to selectively campaign in rest of the six seats avoiding the four constituencies, they said.

She initially wanted to hold closed-door meetings of party workers in Rae Bareli and Amethi. But the workers instead wanted her to lead the campaign.

But as there is no final word from her yet on campaigning, partymen are hoping she may change her mind and decides to campaign soon.

“We are requesting Priyankaji to give her campaign schedules. So, far we have not received any positive response from her,” said Rae Bareli district Congress committee (DCC) president VK Shukla.

Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address a public meeting in Rae Bareli on February 17 and in Amethi on either February 23 or 24. Sonia Gandhi has also been urged to hold a joint public meeting in Rae Bareli and Amethi on February 20.

Party workers are hoping Priyanka may also share the dais with Rahul or Sonia.

UPCC president Raj Babbar and Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari will address a public meeting in favour of the party’s candidate in Unchahar, where UP minister and SP leader Manoj Kumar Pandey is also in the fray.

The SP has projected Pandey as a Brahmin leader. By roping in Tiwari for campaigning against Pandey, the Congress is eyeing to cut into his Brahmin votes in the constituency.