Priyanka Gandhi’s ‘Mission UP’ begins today with Lucknow roadshow, Rahul Gandhi says ‘excited’

A grand roadshow will welcome Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress general secretary incharge of east UP, when she arrives in Lucknow today, her first visit to the politically crucial state after formally joining politics.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that he and Jyotiraditya Scindia, the party general secretary for western UP, will accompany Priyanka. “Coming to Lucknow today. Will be accompanied by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Around 12pm, there will be a roadshow from Lucknow airport to Congress headquarters. Excited to meet you all,” he tweeted.

The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) office in the Mall Avenue area is busy preparing for Priyanka Gandhi’s visit to the city. The roadshow is likely to and pass through places such as Hussainganj and Hazratganj before culminating at the UPCC office.

While Rahul Gandhi is likely to return to Delhi the same day, Priyanka and Scindia will stay in the state for next three days holding meeting with officer bearers and chalking out strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Priyanka Gandhi will be holding meetings with the party leaders and workers from Purvanchal (eastern UP). The electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh opened up to a three-cornered contest after Priyanka Gandhi’s appointment as the party in-charge for Purvanchal. Many consider this move by the Congress party as a game-changer in the state.

Her plunge into active politics from eastern UP is likely to pose fresh challenges to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that had won 71 of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh – 73 with an ally. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency, Varanasi is in the same region and so is UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s home turf, Gorakhpur.

The Congress move to appoint Priyanka Gandhi as the general secretary in-charge of eastern UP came in the wake of a tie-up between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for the parliamentary polls.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati announced their electoral arrangement last month burying their over two-decade rivalry. They decided to field 38 candidates each in Uttar Pradesh and announced that no candidates would be put up at Rae Bareli and Amethi, the parliamentary constituencies of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president.

Before being assigned the new role, Priyanka Gandhi had confined her political activities to these two constituencies managing electoral affairs for mother Sonia and brother Rahul since 2004 parliamentary polls. This is the first time Priyanka Gandhi has ventured into larger political field with Rahul Gandhi at the helm of the affairs in the Congress party.

Priyanka and Scindia, however, have an uphill task in the most populous state of the country. The Congress had secured only two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The party’s performance in the last year’s parliamentary bypolls was also not impressive with the SP and BSP joined hands to defeat the BJP.

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