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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Priyanka Gandhi tries to win over UP voters with personalised letters

In a final push before campaigning ends for the fifth phase of the ongoing general elections, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has made a personal outreach to voters across all 14 Uttar Pradesh constituencies going to the polls on Monday.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 05, 2019 08:11 IST
Anisha Dutta
Anisha Dutta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra,India news,Lok Sabha elections 2019
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during an election rally in Rae Bareli district of Uttar Pradesh.(PTI)

Priyanka Gandhi, who is in charge of UP (east), has written personalised and separate letters to accredited social health activists (ASHA), anganwadi workers, rural job scheme (MGNREGA) workers, teachers, instructors, students and madrasas, promising to look into each of their problems and resolve them.

The letters, which have been reviewed by HT, are being handed out by party workers in all 14 constituencies – Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Amethi, Dhauraha, Sitapur, Mohanlalganj, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambi, Barabanki, Faizabad, Bahraich, Kaiserganj and Gonda.

On the last day of campaigning on Saturday, the Congress also made a conscious effort to reach out to women voters. Accompanied by Priyanka Gandhi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi held a meeting with women workers at Korwa in Amethi district.

In her letter to ASHA workers (community health workers under the National Rural Health Mission), Priyanka Gandhi dwelt on the Congress promise to double the health budget and, through it, increase funds allocated for them.

“My Dear ASHA sisters. In the last few months while travelling through the state, I got the chance to meet you. After listening to you, I sympathised with your difficulties at a personal level. But the current government has betrayed your legitimate demands,” she wrote, adding that the government had failed to provide them support. “Aur kai baar aapke savaalo ka jawab lathiyo

se diya hai. (On several occasions, they have answered your questions with brute force). After seeing the injustice that you have faced, I have personally ensured that your issues get a separate section in our election manifesto,” she added.

The Congress has promised to pay the pending dues of ASHA and anganwadi workers. Anganwadis are rural child care centres under the government’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme aimed at combating malnutrition. Priyanka Gandhi also promised more funds for the ICDS scheme.

In her letter to teachers, instructors and shiksha mitras (teachers appointed by the state government on contractual basis), Priyanka Gandhi said the Congress would clear all their pending dues “and if there is any delay to pay the balance amount, then the government will provide loans”. The party would also fill all vacant teaching positions in schools run by the Centre by March 2020.

The Congress also promised to modernise the education system in madrasas. “Money allotted to madrasas will be sanctioned immediately to assist their modernisation/renovation,” Priyanka Gandhi wrote.

In her letter addressed to MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) workers, Priyanka Gandhi promised to form a committee that would work towards resolving their problems within 100 days. The MGNREGA guarantees 100 days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

In its manifesto, the Congress had announced that it would launch “MGNREGA 3.0” to address water security, soil quality and other issues that aggravate farmer distress. The party has promised 150 days of employment in cases where 100 days have been achieved.

BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao claimed the Congress was resorting to propaganda as it was staring at a rout in its bastions. “Both brother and sister are rattled by the impending defeat in the Congress’s family strongholds... No amount of lying and propaganda will work as Rahul Gandhi neglected Amethi even during the UPA tenure,” Rao claimed.

First Published: May 05, 2019 08:10 IST