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Congress plans to utilise Rahul's birthday to widen votebank

india Updated: Jun 14, 2009 10:06 IST

BSP supremo Mayawati may face some challenge in her turf as Congress is planning to make inroads into the BSP’s Dalit votebank in Uttar Pradesh, seeking to exploit to the hilt Rahul Gandhi’s birthday on June 19.

The Uttar Pradesh Congress is organising community feasts in Dalit-dominated areas on that day which will be celebrated as ‘Samrasta Divas´ (day of harmony), PCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi said.

Buoyed by the Lok Sabha election results, the Congress has already declared that it would leave nothing to chance and would walk the extra mile in its efforts to capture power in Lucknow in the next assembly elections scheduled in 2012.

The ‘sahbhoj´(community feasts) to mark the day would have participation of party workers and sympathisers from all communities and is being seen as a sort of social engineering by the Congress.

Congress has hit upon the idea at a time when the party is on a revival path in the key state of Hindi heartland where it was down in the dumps for the last 20 years.

The party’s showing was significant in view of the fact that Mayawati single-handedly won the Assembly elections held two years ago, a development that was seen then as a defining moment in Indian politics.

Rahul Gandhi had once remarked "if Congress wants to come to power at the Centre on its own, it needs to win most number of seats in Uttar Pradesh.“

Other programmes planned for the day include a roadshow by the Youth Congress which is celebrating the day as ‘Yuva Prerna Divas´.

The NSUI will organise roadside debates on ‘youth and democracy´ using a motorised ‘rath´. “They will distribute prizes to the winners,” said Joshi.

The Sewa Dal is observing the day as ‘Sankalp Divas´ and plans to hold various programmes.

The Mahila Congress, however, is yet to come out with its programme.