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Mumbai Congress wants Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as star campaigner for east UP connect

Of the 30-35 lakh Hindi-speaking population in Mumbai and its suburbs, 65% is from east Uttar Pradesh , a region she was given in charge of

mumbai Updated: Feb 16, 2019 07:50 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Priyanka Gandhi,Priyanka Vadra,Congress
A group of north Indian party workers met Priyanka Gandhi in Lucknow two days ago, requesting her to hold a meeting in the city.(HT Photo)

City Congress leaders are keen on getting party president Rahul Gandhi and their newly appointed general secretary and in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi, to campaign in Mumbai for the Lok Sabha elections.

Reason? Of the 30-35 lakh Hindi-speaking population in Mumbai and its suburbs, 65% is from east Uttar Pradesh and most citizens visit their villages to cast their votes. The leaders are hopeful that Priyanka Gandhi can attract north Indian voters to the party. Hindi-speaking voters in Mumbai reportedly preferred the Bharatiya Janata Party in the last few elections, including the civic polls held in 2017.

The city unit of the party, during it campaign committee meeting last week, demanded a rally or meeting by Priyanka Gandhi in the western suburbs. A group of north Indian party workers met Priyanka Gandhi in Lucknow two days ago, requesting her to hold a meeting in the city. “The Maharashtra Congress has demanded three rallies in three parts of the state, while Mumbai unit has demanded one meeting in the city. The leadership believes it will help regain lost votes not only in Mumbai, but also in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region,” said a Mumbai Congress leader.

Harishankar Dubey, a Congress worker and publisher of Rajiv Darshan, a magazine named after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was one of the workers who met Priyanka with the request. “Like Congress, Priyanka’s father was born in Mumbai. It will be homecoming for the young leader. There is huge respect for the Gandhi family among voters in Uttar Pradesh.” he said.

People from Pratapgarh, Jaunpur, Gorakhpur, Faizabad, Azamgarh in eastern UP have migrated to the city in large numbers, with most involved in driving taxis, milk or vegetable trade. Many Lok Sabha constituencies, including Mumbai North-Central, North-West, North-East, Thane, Kalyan, have Hindi-speaking pockets in large numbers. “It is true that a rally by Priyankaji will help us send out a positive message,” said Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, adding, “Of the 50 lakh Hindi-speaking people in Mumbai and its suburbs, 30 lakh are from UP, with 20 lakh from east UP.”

Mumbai Congress’ North Indian Cell chief Anand Shukla said the rally may boost the morale of the leaders.

A section of party leadership is afraid that if Priyanka’s rally is linked to north India, it could affect the other votebanks, including Marathi voters.

The first rally by Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the city is expected to be held by the end of February. The party is also trying for three rallies or public meetings by Priyanka Gandhi in Nandurbar and parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha.

First Published: Feb 15, 2019 23:51 IST