Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, seen as the party's best bet for the upcoming polls in Uttar Pradesh, was all set to evoke the memory of his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru on the latter's own soil in Allahabad on Monday in the hope of reviving the party's fortunes in the country's most populous state, where the party has been in oblivion for two long decades.
"Nehru ji ko yaad karenge, Rahul ji ke saath chalenge" (We will remember Nehru, and go with Rahul) is the key slogan emblazoned on all hoardings and posters plastered all across this city, from where the Nehru-Gandhi scion will kickstart the Congress party's campaign for the 2012 assembly elections -- that too when the nation celebrates Nehru's birthday on Monday.
As if to drive the Nehru message deeper home, the venue of Rahul's much-hyped rally has been strategically kept in one corner of the adjoining Phulpur Lok Sabha constituency (on the city's outskirts), once known as the impregnable political bastion of Jawaharlal Nehru.
The fact that the Nehru-Gandhi family lost all connection with the constituency in the post-Nehru era has been systematically ignored by Rahul's managers.
Interestingly, while the posters do have tiny pictures of both Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, other prominent members of the Nehru-Gandhi clan - Indira and Rajiv Gandhi - are conspicuous by their absence.
"This is the first time that we do not see even a mention of Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi on the hoardings and posters announcing Rahul's rally," remarked a veteran Congressman. "What was the grand idea behind this?"
Congress leaders involved with the preparations for the mega event were, however, confident of turning the Congress party's fortunes by projecting Rahul in a completely new mode.
Besides invoking Nehru, the event managers are apparently all set to depict the "angry young man" in Rahul -- which was vividly visible on some of the hoardings.
Asked to comment on this sudden makeover, union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, who has been camping here for Monday's big show, observed: "Well, when Rahulji says that the pathetic state of affairs in Uttar Pradesh makes him angry, he means to convey his serious concern for UP."
However, there was another set of Congressmen who interpret this differently.
"Rahul's anger is also against certain policies of his own party's government led by Manmohan Singh, and sure enough that is the reason he is looking up to his great-grandfather in the hope of taking the path shown by him," a leader said.
It was this Congress group that had gone to the extent of putting up giant-sized posters with the slogan - "Mata bimar, mantrimandal lachar; Rahul ji, karo netritva sweekar" (Mother unwell, council of ministers is helpless; it is high time Rahul that you took over the reins of governance)
While other Congress leaders got the posters removed in a jiffy, there were still many takers for the appeal.