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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Rahul Gandhi by her side, Priyanka launches ‘Mission UP’ with mammoth roadshow

On Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s first visit to Uttar Pradesh since her appointment as a general secretary of the party, the grand old party went into an overdrive to hail her plunge into active politics.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2019 18:55 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with party general secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia during a roadshow, in Lucknow.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with party general secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia during a roadshow, in Lucknow.(PTI photo)

Newly-appointed Congress general secretary for eastern Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday launched her party’s ‘Mission UP’ in Lucknow with a mega roadshow thronged by frenzied party workers and supporters.

A beaming Priyanka, accompanied by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary (west UP) Jyotiraditya Scindia on top of a bus, waved at party workers jostling to catch a glimpse of her. Converted into a ‘rath’ the bus had a picture of Priyanka superimposed on Indira Gandhi’s photograph.

Congress workers celebrated Priyanka’s arrival by dancing to the beats of ‘dhol’ and tunes of Bollywood patriotic songs.

The roadshow also triggered a mad rush for selfies as partymen competed to take vantage positions to click photographs.

As the trio, along with UPCC president Raj Babbar, senior UP leaders RPN Singh and Anu Tandon, embarked on the roadshow through major thoroughfares, Congress workers showered rose petals and marigold garlands on the cavalcade.

Slogans like ‘Leher nahi ye aandhi hai, naam Priyanka Gandhi hai’, ‘Indira is back’, ‘Dehan karo Modi ki Lanka, Behen Priyanka, Behen Priyanka’ and ‘Iradey prabal, hoga mazboot kal’ filled the air.

“Aa gayi badlaav ki aandhi, Rahul sang Priyanka Gandhi” was one of the favourite slogans of Congress activists, who wore caps and T-shirts with Priyanka’s picture embossed on them.

Using the campaign to target the BJP government over Rafale deal, Rahul Gandhi showed a cardboard cut-out of Rafale jet to the crowd.

Reacting to it, Congress workers shouted, “Gali gali mein shor hai, chowkidar chor hai.’

At Burlington crossing, dangling overhead cables forced the Congress leaders come down from the roof of the bus.

As the roadshow reached Hazratganj, Rahul and Priyanka got down from their vehicle to garland the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Dr BR Ambedkar.

The Congress workers had decked up key roundabouts with party flags. The party’s office at Mall Avenue was painted afresh and decorated with hundreds of kilograms of marigold and other flowers to welcome the leaders.

The entire route of the motorcade of the Gandhi scion was dotted with posters, hoardings and banners welcoming Priyanka.

Some of the posters depicting Priyanka as Goddess Durga surfaced in Lucknow ahead of the roadshow. In the poster, Priyanka is shown sitting on a tiger. A Hindi slogan accompanying the picture read: “Sister Priyanka Gandhi is the form of Mother Durga”.

Countering the Congress campaign, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers took a jibe at Priyanka’s state visit by putting flex boards saying that the Congress general secretary is here to rob the state.

Hundreds of Congress workers in pink attire, calling themselves the members of Priyanka Sena, were seen shouting slogans in her support.

“Desh ke samman mein, Priyanka ji maidan mein, Maan bhi denge, samman bhi denge, waqt padega toh jaan bhi denge (To honour the country, with Priyanka in the field, we’ll give respect and if needed, we’ll lay down our lives as well),” read the slogan on their T-shirts, which had her photo too.

“With the Priyanka Sena at Nehru Bhawan, Lucknow. It’s almost like a celebration here (sic),” tweeted Sushmita Dev, president of the party’s women wing.

The procession of party workers and supporters around Priyanka’s bus caused traffic jams in various parts of the city.

Ahead of her maiden visit as general secretary, Priyanka had said: “I wish together we will begin a new politics and you be a part of it. Youth, women and marginalised, everyone’s voices will be heard. Let’s establish a new future and politics.”

Priyanka and Scindia will stay in Lucknow till February 14.