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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Priyanka Gandhi may start UP campaign on March 17, likely to take river route to Kashi

Priyanka’s tour to different regions of the state in the coming weeks is likely to incorporate more Dalit and backward areas even as the party plans to pitch in its senior leaders to counter the BSP and BJP campaign against the party among the weaker sections.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 15, 2019 11:03 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a leader of India's main opposition Congress party
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a leader of India's main opposition Congress party(REUTERS)

A day after Congress general secretary for east UP Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar in a Meerut hospital on Wednesday, there are indications that the grand old party is working on plans for a greater outreach to the Dalits and backward classes in the coming weeks in Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi is likely to start touring different regions of the state on March 17 and will visit more Dalit and OBC areas as the Congress seeks to field its senior leaders to counter the campaign by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) among these sections in India’s most populous state.

All eyes are on her first visit to Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The final touches are still being given to the first phase of Priyanka Gandhi’s campaign,but she will likely take the river route from Prayagraj to Varanasi and cover villages dominated by Dalits and OBCs.

“Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s tour is likely to begin on March 17. Both the Modi government at the Centre and the Yogi government in the state have not been able to understand issues concerning the communities living by the riverside. Priyanka will visit the villages to know their problems,” said Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Raj Babbar while speaking to media persons here.

“After reaching Lucknow on March 17, Priyanka is likely to begin campaign next day and proposes to reach Varanasi via Prayagraj March 20. A part of her programme will be through the river route, for which we have sought necessary permission,” said a senior party leader.

Babbar also said the Congress’s focus on weaker sections was evident in the party’s distribution of tickets too. “We have taken care of the weaker sections in our ticket distribution,” said Babbar, obviously pointing towards preference given to reserved seats in first two lists of candidates. Out of 27 candidates announced so far, the party has announced names for eight reserved seats.

Babbar said both Priyanka and Bhim Army chief have maintained that no politics should be seen behind their meeting and so the issue should not be politicized. “Bhim army chief has also said this was a sister’s visit to her brother and this should be taken in the same spirit,” said Babbar.

UPCC scheduled caste department chairman Bhagwati Chaudhari, who has been fielded from Robertsganj (SC) seat, said Congress president Rahul Gandhi had launched Leadership Development Mission in Reserved Constituencies (LDMRC) in 2014. “We have been sending out leaders to Dalit communities to counter the misgivings and negativity that the BSP and BJP have spread about the Congress and its relations with Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. We have a new generation of Dalits now and they understand our point. We will send more leaders now in all the constituencies to counter their campaign. We will also tell people about how the BJP was trying to target the Constitution,” said Chaudhary.

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 08:23 IST