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UP Congress readies for Priyanka trip

20 party workers each from 77 of the 80 constituencies have been invited to meetings that Priyanka and Scindia will address

By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow

  • Published 11.02.19, 2:51 AM
  • Updated 11.02.19, 9:10 AM
Workers put up festoons outside the Congress office in Lucknow on Sunday to welcome Priyanka.
Workers put up festoons outside the Congress office in Lucknow on Sunday to welcome Priyanka. (PTI)

Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia will arrive in Lucknow on Monday along with other All India Congress Committee members to kick off four-day discussions of electoral strategies and Lok Sabha candidates.

All three will be part of a 14km, eight-hour road show from the airport to the state Congress headquarters. Rahul will return to Delhi on Monday evening but Priyanka and Scindia, the newly appointed general secretaries for eastern and western Uttar Pradesh, will stay on till Thursday, state Congress chief Raj Babbar said.

“They will meet party workers from across the state to formulate poll strategies,” he said.

Twenty dedicated Congress workers each from 77 of the state’s 80 constituencies have been invited to a series of meetings that Priyanka and Scindia will address, Babbar said.

Also present will be all the Congress MPs and members of the state legislative assembly and council, former and current.

Babbar said Priyanka would later meet party workers from the remaining three constituencies — Rae Bareli, Amethi and Sultanpur — when she visits these places by the end of this month.

Rae Bareli and Amethi are represented by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul, respectively. Varun Gandhi is BJP member from Sultanpur, which borders Amethi.

Political observers believe that Rahul and Priyanka don’t want to destabilise Varun, who is their cousin and appears dissatisfied with the Narendra Modi government’s functioning.

Priyanka and Scindia will hold their next round of meetings separately in eastern and western Uttar Pradesh from February 18 to 21, when they will kick off “a full-fledged election campaign”, Babbar said.

Congress sources said that senior leaders such as Rajiv Shukla, Mukul Wasnik and Harish Rawat were camping in Lucknow to organise the four-day programme next week. Over two dozen Congress activists from Uttarakhand, led by Vijay Saraswat, too are in Lucknow.

“Fifty per cent of the candidates (for Uttar Pradesh) will be decided during the four-day meeting this week,” a senior Congress leader, who didn’t want to be named, said.

State Congress spokesperson Dwijendra Tripathi said: “After a long gap, a large number of leaders from other parties have lined up for election tickets from our party. Although our leaders will decide the requests after a thorough review, the aspirants’ newfound interest in the Congress shows which way the wind is blowing.”

He added: “Congress workers had long been demanding that Priyanka be brought into full-fledged politics. We believe her charm and ability to connect with people will work wonders for our party in the Lok Sabha elections.”

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