Rahul Gandhi's decision to stay put in Uttar Pradesh and campaign for the Congress party seem to have activated the party cadre in the state. The party workers now have hope of the Congress' revival in the state.
Contrary to expectations that he may not spare much time for UP, Rahul has not only emerged as the star campaigner of the Congress but is also getting increasingly involved in party affairs.
Congress workers were pleasantly surprised when Rahul Gandhi reached Deoria on April 29 on coming to know that the police had lathicharged Youth Congress workers participating in the state-wide yatra. "UP's heat and dust has made him a mature politician," said a low level party functionary, Ajay while expressing confidence that if Rahul continued to take interest, the Congress would be back in the reckoning in the state.
Rahul's decision to be with the family members of the Congress candidate from Khaga Munna Lal Maurya, who died in a road mishap last week gave a firm signal to the workers that the leadership "does care for the party workers," said another party functionary Parvez.
Rahul had started his road shows and public meetings from western Uttar Pradesh on March 18, 2007. There has been no stopping since then.
A large turnout is being witnessed during public meetings and road shows that Rahul is holding in various parts of the state. At most such meetings, Rahul has not only given a call to the youth to bring about a change but has also assured and reassured people that he is here for a long haul in UP. As Congressmen are keenly watching each and every moment of Rahul's campaign, his visits have caught their attention for his sensitivity. "Rahul is very sensitive. This is rare among today's politicians," said the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) Vice President Satyadev Tripathi. "Youth is rallying around Rahul Gandhi. His campaign is enthusing Congressmen. He is taking active interest in the state's politics," he said.
This is in sharp contrast to the 2004-Lok Sabha elections when Rahul had visited only a few parliament constituencies. After entering active politics before Lok Sabha election, Rahul had been frequently visiting his parliamentary constituency Amethi and Rae Bareli, the constituency of Sonia Gandhi. The Congressmen had been consistently demanding that Rahul should take active interest in other parts of the state and also assume the position of general secretary in the party organisation.
Rahul, however, kept everybody guessing till he finally decided to take the plunge in the assembly polls.
Significantly, he has time and against asserted that he is here to stay. Rahul obviously wants to prepare his party for the Lok Sabha election. "UP is going to be fixed. If not this election – the next election" was the observation Rahul made while replying to a question at Cheetal near Muzaffarnagar. His sister Priyanka Vadra too has openly lauded Rahul's efforts. "Rahul Gandhi is working hard. His road shows and public meetings will bring about some improvement in the Congress' prospects in the assembly elections," said Priyanka while replying to questions from mediapersons recently.