Buoyed by the response of the people during her roughly 130 kilometre-long roadshow on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon, Priyanka Gandhi Vadera advised Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav not to underestimate her elder brother Rahul. "Often less experienced people are able to spring surprises.
"Mulayam Singhji ko Rahul se satark rahna chahiye," she said soon after hitting the campaign trail. For the first time, her kids - Rehan and Maria — were also there with her.
"I have come with my kids for campaigning this time. I am a mother too and hence I can associate with your concerns-- security, good education and development. Apne kshetra aur apne bacchon ke vikas liye Congress ko vote dijiye," she told the motley crowd which responded enthusiastically to her appeal.
Immediately after touching down at the Fursatganj airstrip, she stopped for her first interaction with the people at Fursatganj crossing. "You know why I have come here, don't you?" As people nodded, Priyanka waved her palm indicating the Congress symbol.
"I am sure now that the Congress would do well in the assembly elections," she told HT during her roadshow. Seeing their mother braving the heat to reach out to the crowd, her kids couldn't resist lending a helping hand as they peeped out from behind their SPG cover to offer 'toffees and badges' to the village kids who went crazy with delight.
In between affectionate glances at 'her little campaigners', she kept on urging the people to ensure victory for the Congress in the assembly elections. "I have been coming here since I was a kid. The good life that I enjoy is all because of you. Amethi and Rae Bareli is like our second home. So, I am appealing to you as a member of your family to vote for Congress on April 28. I know it's the harvesting season and marriages too are taking place. But, my family would be grateful for your support," she said.
The response was tremendous. "Tum chinta nahi karo bahin. Vote Panja ka hi padi," said Ram Dulari from Tekari village. And after Priyanka's kids offered some sweets to Dulari's son, Manka, the village woman couldn't control her glee. "Jug jug jiyo beta. Ek din mantri bano"!
The little ones smiled back and then went about distributing sweets to other kids. At Pothai village, Janki was among the several village women who raced out of her house to tell "Priyanki didi" about the problems.
"We don't have our government in UP. That's why it's important that you vote for the Congress this time," she said perhaps adding another vote in favour of the Congress candidates.