Priyanka Gandhi on UP visit, party’s poll readiness on agenda
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will on Friday attend the meeting of the party’s election panel in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow and interact with party leaders to get their feedback on the selection of candidates ahead of the crucial Uttar Pradesh assembly elections scheduled to be held next year. Priyanka Gandhi, who reached Lucknow on Thursday, will conduct an organisational review and is also likely to visit Rae Bareli, the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress president and her mother Sonia Gandhi. She may also go to Amethi, once the family’s bastion.
Priyanka Gandhi told reporters at the Lucknow airport on Thursday that she has come to meet her party’s workers. Several senior Congress leaders have said that the party has already shortlisted about 40 to 50 candidates and many of them have been informally sounded out about the move. The Congress party usually makes a formal announcement about its candidates after the Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) and Central Election Committee (CEC) finalise the names of nominees.
Lallan Kumar, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president, said Priyanka Gandhi will hold meetings with the party’s election committee and advisory committee of the state unit. Kumar said she will also review the district-wise progress of the party's mass contact programme "Har Goan Congress" (Congress in every village). The Congress party’s Uttar Pradesh unit launched the mass contact programme on August 19 to cover the state's 30,000 villages and wards where party leaders were directed to stay for over three days during the drive.
Priyanka Gandhi will also take feedback from the party’s newly appointed nyaya panchayat chiefs and office-bearers from across the state. The Congress general secretary will also finalise the blueprint of party programmes for the next one month.
Kumar said she will also review the progress of the first phase of the party’s "Prashikshan Se Parakram (Valour through training)” programme. Launched last month, the programme aims at giving training to two lakh party grassroots workers by holding 700 training camps.
Priyanka Gandhi who is leading the party campaign in politically significant Uttar Pradesh has a Herculean task to lift the grand old party's sliding stock in the state. The Congress lost miserably in the 2017 state polls and managed to win only seven seats in the 403-member UP assembly polls. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it could manage to hold Rae Bareli parliamentary seat of Sonia Gandhi but lost the Gandhi family's bastion Amethi where Rahul Gandhi was defeated by Union minister Smriti Irani.
The Congress has said it will not get into an alliance either with the Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party and would prefer tie-ups with some smaller UP-centric parties in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.