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Cong launches second phase of Rahul Gandhi’s UP yatra, Dalit outreach to follow

india Updated: Nov 02, 2016 15:23 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Rahul Gandhi

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi meeting Muslims during the first stage of his Kisan Yatra in Saharanpur last month . (PTI)

The Uttar Pradesh Congress launched on Wednesday the second phase of Rahul Sandesh Yatra to reach out to people at the ‘panchayat’ level and consolidate possible gains made by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s Deoria-Delhi Kisan Yatra that concluded last month.

“Yes, Uttar Pradesh Congress’ Rahul Sandesh Yatra has begun its journey again in all the 75 districts. The Rahul Sandesh Yatra will continue its journey till November 10,” said Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Raj Babbar.

Rahul Gandhi had gone door to door to get signatures of farmers on the Mang Patras (proformas) distributed to them to take feedback about loans in their name. The party deployed senior leaders to collect the documents by October 31. Rahul promised the famers that he would take up their cause and build pressure on the NDA government to waive their loans. “We have already collected more than one crore proformas duly signed by the farmers,” said a senior party leader.

Read: Rahul’s Kisan Yatra set to conclude Thursday evening

The Congress launched the Rahul Sandesh Yatra (first phase) from October 15 to 27 to reach out to the people up to block level. Later, the party decided to launch another phase of the yatra after Diwali to reach out to village panchayats that could not be covered in the first phase.

Having deployed senior leaders as observers, the Congress proposes to use feedback received from the yatra about the party’s organisational preparedness at grass roots level for 2017 assembly elections. The feedback is likely to be used in the distribution of tickets for 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Soon, after the conclusion of Rahul Sandesh Yatra the party proposes to launch the Congress Dalit Yatra on November 11 2016 to woo the dalits. The Congress Dalit Yatra would also go from village to village to reach out to the Dalits, who form more than a fifth of the state’s population. The party proposes to send about 200 teams of Dalit leaders to nearly 8,000 scheduled-caste dominated villages across Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress is fighting to come back to power in India’s most populous state after 27 years but faces an uphill task competing against a resurgent BJP and strong regional parties, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.

Read: Cong needs to learn from its MLAs’ exits and rework strategy to succeed in UP