Rae Bareli is battle ready

SINGH NIWAS, located in the Civil Lines, is humming with activity since early morning. ?This is our command office,? says a Congress leader as he waits for Priyanka Vadra. ?Here she comes,? says another leader as Priyanka moves into the hall. All of them quickly move to Pandey Kothi, which has been converted into a makeshift war room (election office) as wing commander (Retd) Manoj Mattu spreads the map of Rae Bareli on the central table.

india Updated: May 08, 2006 00:52 IST

SINGH NIWAS, located in the Civil Lines, is humming with activity since early morning. “This is our command office,” says a Congress leader as he waits for Priyanka Vadra.

“Here she comes,” says another leader as Priyanka moves into the hall. All of them quickly move to Pandey Kothi, which has been converted into a makeshift war room (election office) as wing commander (Retd) Manoj Mattu spreads the map of Rae Bareli on the central table.

Mattu briefs the poll strategist and managers about the position of the party in the five Vidhan Sabha constituencies in Rae Bareli, which goes to polls on Monday. “We are in a strong position in Rae Bareli Sadar, Dalmau and Bachrawan Vidhan Sabha constituencies, while the rivals have some edge in Sataon and Saraini Vidhan Sabha constituencies,” he says.

“Victory is certain and this time Soniaji will secure victory with higher margin than previous election,” Mattu motivates the group. Priyanka queries about the preparation at the booths and asks if party agents had been deputed at all the booths to ensure high poll percentage and checkmate the rivals.

Suddenly the phone starts ringing. “It’s Rahul”, Somebody tells Priyanka. Both of them discuss the preparation for the D- Day and effort required to increase the poll percentage. “Though Rahul is across the line of control (neighbouring Amethi constituency), he is always in touch with Priyanka discussing the poll preparation,” a Congress leader tells you. “Sudden increase in temperature is worrying all and we hope that people will come out in strength to cast their vote”, he says.

Priyanka is briefed about poll percentage in the previous election. She asks about the booths in which Congress led and those where it lagged behind.
After a quick briefing she comes out and the cavalcade moves toward Sataon area. At Kharaini village Priyanka inquires with the voters if poll slips had been distributed. A Congress leader hands over poll kit to the booth agent.

At Behta Kola village, the natives inform her about the drinking water crisis. “Your grievances would be redressed,” she says and asks if every one had poll slip. The villagers reply in the affirmative and assure her that they would vote for Sonia.

She enters then Saraini Vidhan Sabha area and stops at Rasulpur village. The villagers rush for a glimpse of her. Sonia has done a lot for the development of the area and we will again send her to Lok Sabha, they tell her.

In Bhitar Gaon, Maharajiganj, Kazi Khera, Panditpurwa, Jator Tappa, Semri, Sirsa, Umrapar villages too, Priyanka is given a warm welcome. Voters tell her not to worry about victory, “the rivals will be routed,” they say.

At all the places the villagers jostle to have a glimpse of Priyanka, as some of them try to shake hand. “We meet Rahul often, but Priyanka is visiting here after a long gap,” say the villagers.

After visiting around two-dozen villages located in various corners of two constituencies, Priyanka along with party leaders returns to Singh Niwas. All are in high spirit. “The mood of the voters clearly indicates that Sonia will win with higher margin in comparison to previous election,” say Congress leaders in unison.

First Published: May 08, 2006 00:49 IST