In Ayodhya, opinion divided on Priyanka effect
In Dalit-dominated Hardoiya village, where Priyanka had interacted with women, Ramrati, 48, was more forthcoming when asked about which party she would back for the Faizabad seat.Updated: May 03, 2019, 13:43 IST
During her first visit to Ayodhya on March 29, Congress general secretary (east UP) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra interacted with villagers, visited a Dalit hamlet and interacted with women.
She also held public meetings and an interactive session with students of a private educational institution. Villagers swarmed to have a glimpse of her and listened to her attentively.
But the opinion is divided among residents and experts on whether Priyanka’s visit to Ayodhya will may make the battle for the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat an interesting one. Asked whether her visit will win votes for the Congress, Ram Pargat Singh, a resident of Vinayakpur, Faizabad, did not give a direct reply.
“The BJP government has done a lot of work in Ayodhya. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has come to Ayodhya several times. Things have improved in Ayodhya in the last two years,” he said.
He was among those who had gathered at Triveniganj market on the outskirts of Faizabad to hear Priyanka speak.
Another Vinayakpur resident Uma Shankar Singh, who was also part of the crowd, said, “It will be an interesting contest. It will not be easy for the Congress to breach the saffron citadel and caste-based politics in Faizabad.”
In Dalit-dominated Hardoiya village, where Priyanka had interacted with women, Ramrati, 48, was more forthcoming when asked about which party she would back for the Faizabad seat.
“Behenji (former CM Mayawati) has done a lot for us. She remains our first choice. We will do whatever she says,” said Ramrati, indicating towards the SP-BSP alliance.
On the road leading to Hanuman Garhi temple, which Priyanka visited, sweetmeat shop owner Ravi said: “Ayodhya became a VIP constituency only after the BJP came to power in the state.”
Associate professor Shuchita Pandey, head of the department of political science at Saket PG College, Ayodhya, said the Congress became active in Ayodhya only a month before the polls.
“For decades, Ayodhya was neglected by all governments for reasons best known to them. We saw religious places like Mathura, Vrindavan and Allahabad prosper. But Ayodhya remained neglected for decades,” said Pandey.
But things changed for the first time after the BJP formed governments at the Centre and in the state, she added.
“It will be hard for the Congress to translate public gathering during Priyanka Gandhi’s maiden visit to Ayodhya into votes,” she said. She also said Ram temple was not an issue in Ayodhya.