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Highlights: Priyanka, Rahul Gandhi slam Modi for ignoring farmers’ plight

In a first this poll season, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit the campaign trail in Uttar Pradesh on Friday.

assembly elections Updated: Feb 17, 2017 18:07 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Rae Bareli
Priyanka Gandhi,Congress,Uttar Pradesh assembly 2017
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.(ANI Photo)

In a first this poll season, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit the campaign trail in Uttar Pradesh on Friday.

Priyanka joins her brother and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Rae Bareli, a parliamentary seat held by her mother Sonia, and earlier by her grand mother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Instrumental in orchestrating the alliance with the ruling Samajwadi Party for the assembly election, Priyanka is among 40 star campaigners the Congress is counting on to improve its showing in India’s largest state.

Watch | Congress rally in Rae Barel

After Rae Bareli, Rahul will address another rally in Maharajganj in support of party candidate Aditi Singh.

Rae Bareli accounts for five assembly seats and goes to vote on February 23, the fourth of seven phases of polling in the state.

Watch this space for live updates:

5:05pm: Priyanka assumes a tone similar to Rahul’s and slams Centre for not doing enough for farmers. There is no mention of rival Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi Party in the rally addressed by both Rahul and Sonia Gandhi.

5pm: Priyanka Gandhi addresses the rally in Rae Bareli, targeting Prime Minister Modi for not delivering his promises.

“I ask you to spurn those who lie to you, who fail to deliver their promises. Choose those who want to work for you, those who want to develop the Pradesh.”  

4:07pm: Rahul, Priyanka depart from the stage as rally ends in just over 20 minutes.  

4:05pm: Rahul, Priyanka seen sharing a light moment on the stage after the address.

4:05pm: “We’ll change Uttar Pradesh. There will be a time when the products will have made in Rae Bareli mark. One day, it will be ‘Made in Uttar Pradesh’” -- With this, Rahul ends his address in Rae Bareli.

4pm: The SP-Congress alliance will give the money back to you, not to 50 industrialists, Rahul says, slamming the Modi government that many critics believe is pro-corporates.

We’ll give loans to the common man, so you can give employment to hundreds more. With just Rs 5 lakh, the youth can increase employment in Uttar Pradesh., Rahul Gandhi promises in Rae Bareli.

3:55pm: “We wanted to set up 40 food processing factories here. We wanted to bring the a food park to Uttar Pradesh because we wanted farmers to sell their produce directly to the factories... Your produce made in Rae Bareli would have gone to US.”

PM keeps saying ‘Make in India’... But Modi snatched your ‘Make in Rae Bareli’ tag: Rahul

“One minister told me that not even 1 lakh youth got jobs.”

3:52pm: Rahul criticises the “suit boot ki sarkar” over demonetisation, says: “After note ban, Modi ji cleared Rs 12 crore loans for Vijay Mallya but he doesn’t give money, tells the farmers and the common man to stand in a line.”

“Modi ji has given Rs 6 lakh crore to India’s millionaires.”

3:50pm: Rahul again uses Bollywood movies as a reference for Modi government, says instead of Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge as “Achhe Din” -- Modi’s poll chant -- people get ‘Gabbar Singh’ from Sholay.

This isn’t the first time Rahul used Gabbar Singh, an iconic popular culture villain from the movie Sholay, to criticise the Modi government. Rahul had asked the people to keep their notes hidden or else “Gabbar will come” in a rally on Thursday.

Modi had promised Varanasi (Modi’s constituency) about cleaning up the city, providing free internet etc, but Modi hasn’t delivered, says Rahul, adding that “relationships aren’t made that way”.

3:45pm: “Two crore farmers have asked Modi ji to waive their loans, but there was no response from Modi. He didn’t speak about loans, about farmers,” says Rahul.

“They (BJP) has promised they’ll waive off farmers’ loans. Congress had waived Rs 70,000 crore of farmers’ loans when it was in Centre, not UP. Modi can waive off loans in 15 minutes but no one does it. Modi had promised special packages to Bihar as well, but what happened.”

3:42pm: A few months back, on the Congress’ Kisan Yatra, farmers told us about the difficulties they face. Farmers only have three demands -- loan waivers, cut in electricity bill and the right price for selling our produce, Rahul says as he start speaking on the stage.

3:40pm: Rahul Gandhi starts speaking

3:20pm: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka reach the GIC ground.

It is speculated that Priyanka Gandhi was instrumental in Congress forging an alliance with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, signalling her growing role in the party.

“Priyanka Gandhi has always been a big support for Congress. Her presence makes a difference. Supporters and commoners like it when any big leader comes out in support of the party. I wish her all the best from the Samajwadi Party and hope that she wins more number of seats,” SP leader Juhi Singh told ANI.

2:20pm: Supporters move in large crowds towards GIC ground to hear Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi speak. Rahul will be campaigning for party candidate Aditi Singh

2:15pm: Crowds begin filling out GIC ground in Rae Bareli where Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are set to address a rally

2pm: The rally, which was to begin at 1pm has been delayed to 3pm

First Published: Feb 17, 2017 14:33 IST