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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: ‘If the party tells me, I will fight from anywhere’, says Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in UP

Claiming Modi did not care about Varanasi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “I was told that in the past five years he has not visited even a single village in his own constituency though he has been travelling all over the country and abroad.”

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 29, 2019 19:11 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Ayodhya
A day after hinting that she is not averse to contesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked him for “ignoring” his own Varanasi constituency.
A day after hinting that she is not averse to contesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked him for “ignoring” his own Varanasi constituency.(AP File Photo)
         

A day after hinting that she is not averse to contesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked him for “ignoring” his own Varanasi constituency.

On Thursday night, reacting to a suggestion from a party worker that she should fight the elections from her mother Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli constituency, Priyanka Gandhi had quipped, “Shouldn’t I fight from Varanasi?” She fuelled more speculation on this possibility on Friday by targeting Modi over the state of the constituency that sent him to Parliament in 2014.

But when reporters asked her a direct question, she said, “If the party tells me, I will fight from anywhere.” At a “nukkad sabha” – street corner meeting -- in Ayodhya, she lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party, calling it “pro-rich”, “anti-farmer” and against the interests of the armed forces.

Referring to her own recent visit to Varanasi, Priyanka Gandhi said she was told about the road from the airport to the city when she asked about “development” in the area.

She claimed only 15 km of a 150-km road sanctioned by the previous Congress government has been built there, and when people drive away from the airport it is full of potholes.

Claiming Modi did not care about Varanasi, she said, “I was told that in the past five years he has not visited even a single village in his own constituency though he has been travelling all over the country and abroad.” She was expected to visit the Hanuman Garhi temple in Ayodhya, but planned to keep away from the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

Earlier during this campaign trip, the Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, visited the family bastions of Amethi and Rae Bareli which have elected party president Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.

She claimed the BJP government is helping only the rich. “The government’s focus is only on helping the rich, making the rich, richer. They have money for the businessmen, but not for the poor,” she lamented.

She accused it of planning to shut down the MGNREGA scheme, the mega rural employment guarantee plan launched by a Congress-led government.

Priyanka Gandhi said Modi retained the scheme on coming to power, despite criticising it.

“But funds are not being given to the scheme for six months. They are giving the money to contractors... they want to close the scheme,” she said.

She recalled the recent Congress announcement that it will launch NYAY, a minimum income guarantee scheme for the poorest 20 per cent of the population, if it comes to power.

The Congress leader accused the Modi government of trying to destroy democracy and constitutional institutions.

“This government does not have the courage to hear your voice. They do not go to the villages as they will face reality,” she said.

“I have seen the truth in the leaking roofs of the weavers’ houses, in the eyes of the farmer who said that only the rich have a chowkidar (watchman),” she said, in an indirect reference to Modi’s `I am a chowkidar too’ campaign. “These elections are for saving the country and the Constitution,” she said.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 18:55 IST