Priyanka Gandhi Starts 'Mission UP' With Mega Lucknow Roadshow

Priyanka Gandhi Starts

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Rolls Out 'Mission UP' With Mega Lucknow Roadshow 

New Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who launched her campaign in Uttar Pradesh for the national election, waved to large crowds from the top of a modified truck that wended its way through Lucknow. Accompanied by her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, her fellow UP in-charge, and several Congress leaders and security men, Priyanka Gandhi was seen dressed in a light kurta-churidar standing on the truck decorated in party colours.

The 47 year old, Priyanka Gandhi is no stranger to roadshows with her brother, however, she is campaigning for the first time outside the Gandhi family constituencies of Amethi and Raebareli. The party appeared to have generated a buzz in UP, for the first time in decades. The Congress Party has been voted for BJP in all elections since 1991.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was seen folding her hands flashing a thumbs up sign, as hundreds of workers cheered and shouted slogans on the streets of the crowded city. A lot of posters and billboards of Priyanka Gandhi can be seen.

Priyanka Gandhi is anticipated to be Congress's big hope in Uttar Pradesh, the state which has the highest number of seats in parliament and is considered the route to power at the centre. Her political debut as Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh was announced by the Congress President two weeks ago. Jyotiraditya Scindia will be in charge of the other half of the state.

"...I hope that we can all come together to bring about a new kind of politics. A kind of politics in which all of you will be stakeholders," she said in an audio message through the party's Shakti App on Sunday.

A 30 km route will be covered in the roadshow, through some of the most congested areas of the city; the three leaders will garland statues of Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar along the way.

Priyanka Gandhi and the other leaders are expected to address a press conference and inaugurate a new media centre, after reaching the Congress office. 

Over the next three to four days, she is likely to frequent the party office and chair daily meetings on specific constituencies of the 40-odd Lok Sabha seats that fall under her purview. According to the Congress sources, once Priyanka Gandhi is done with Lucknow, she may embark on a tour of eastern Uttar Pradesh instead of returning to Delhi

The Congress party anticipates that Priyanka Gandhi's entry will boost its prospects in the Lok Sabha elections, with her charisma and voter connect being touted as the major draws, a reality check suggests that it could still be a daunting task. However, the last two Lok Sabha elections in eastern UP - the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls of 2018 - turned out to be disastrous for the party.  Its candidates managed only about 19,000 votes each and a 2% vote share in each constituency, on both seats. 

Lok Sabha polls of 2014 were equally tragic for the Congress, bagging just two seats - Amethi and Raebareli - as compared to the 21 it had won five years earlier. Between 2009 and 2014, the party's vote share also dropped by almost 50%. So, the question is: Does Priyanka Gandhi have the time to revive the party's seemingly defunct grassroots organisation?

As per the sources, the party decided on Priyanka Gandhi's foray into eastern Uttar Pradesh after much thought, and the leadership believes that reviving it in eastern Uttar Pradesh would amount to achieving a symbolic victory. 

Prayagraj, formerly known as Allahabad was Lal Bahadur Shastri's Lok Sabha seat and home to the Nehru family. Neighbouring Phulpur was Jawaharlal Nehru's Lok Sabha seat.  The Priyanka Gandhi led- East Uttar Pradesh also has the strongholds of both Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.