Lok Sabha Elections 2019 | Allahabad, Varanasi or...? UP Congress wants Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to contest polls
Even as the Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is keeping the suspense alive over the possibility of contesting Lok Sabha elections, it’s raining offers for her from various parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Congress leaders claim that the demand for her to campaign and contest the election is increasing with each passing day.
“I haven’t seen such a craze for a long time,” said Aradhana Mishra, a Congress lawmaker from UP, who had accompanied Priyanka on her three-day political campaign on the Ganga.
“Wherever she goes there is a demand for her to contest elections,” Mishra said, adding that Priyanka was expected to campaign for most of the party candidates.
The party’s local units in Prayagraj and Ayodhya have already flagged appeals to the Congress leadership urging it to field Priyanka from these constituencies. Many within the Congress are even betting on her to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi constituency. This is the reason why the party’s Varanasi unit has moved a formal proposal to the party leadership to field her from the key seat of east UP.
Priyanka had herself fuelled the buzz with her “why not Varanasi” quip while interacting with the Congress cadre who wanted her to contest from Rae Bareli, the constituency of her mother and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi. On March 28, when Priyanka was urged by her supporters to contest election from Rae Bareli or Amethi, she apparently responded in a lighter vein: “Why not Varanasi?”
The party’s Allahabad unit has also passed a formal proposal urging the Congress leadership to field Priyanka from Phulpur, a traditional Congress bastion from where the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had contested and won.
The BJP leaders, however, laugh off any talk of ‘Priyanka factor’ making an impression in Uttar Pradesh polls.
Brajbhushan Sharan Singh, BJP’s sitting MP from Kaiserganj, said she should first consider contesting election against him. “The Congress hasn’t declared its candidate in Kaiserganj so far. Let the Congress field her from here, if they want,” said Singh.
Congress leader Devendra Pratap Singh, who is lobbying for a party ticket from Kaiserganj, said it would be a no-contest for Priyanka from any seat she chooses across UP.
Piyush Mishra, who was one of the coordinators of Priyanka’s Ayodhya visit, said the kind of response she was drawing in UP despite the fact that the party had been out of power in the state for three decades, was heartening.
“Let the BJP laugh now. We will have the last laugh,” a Congress leader said, adding that Priyanka had come to UP with a long-term goal that was beyond the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP has also stepped up attack on Priyanka with chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who had so far been avoiding a comment on the Congress general secretary, launching a frontal attack on her in his election rallies.
He also took to Twitter to target Priyanka questioning why she didn’t visit the makeshift Ram temple despite visiting Ayodhya.
“One of the explanations I heard was that she avoided Ram temple because the matter is in court. Well, in that case does she also avoid meeting her family members who are out on bail?” Adityanath tweeted.
UP’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said they were observing Priyanka’s campaign while UP minister Mohsin Raza had said she was like a ‘seasonal bird’ who would disappear after elections.