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Priyanka rolls out ‘Mission UP’ with Rahul
February 12, 2019
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LUCKNOW: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was cheered by thousands as she rode in an open truck here on Monday along with her brother and Congress President Rahul Gandhi on her first visit to Uttar Pradesh after becoming the Congress General Secretary East UP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Security personnel had a tough time holding back enthusiastic crowds as the convoy, which included other party leaders including state unit President Raj Babbar and General Secretary West Uttar Pradesh Jyotiraditya Scindia, wound its way amid full-throated slogans hailing Priyanka Gandhi and lampooning Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At one point at Burlington crossing, Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Scindia and the other leaders had to lower their heads and eventually dismount from the truck to escape dangerously low hanging electric wires. They shifted to a car before returning to the truck.

“The storm is coming, Rahul along with Priyanka Gandhi, was a favourite slogan among the supporters, many of whom wore caps and T-shirts with Priyanka’s picture embossed on them.

Congress officials hope Priyanka’s entry into politics will improve its chances across Uttar Pradesh, a vast agrarian state of 220 million people that the BJP nearly swept in in 2014 elections, winning 73 of the 80 seats.

Many hurled flower garlands at Priyanka Gandhi, who, constantly waving at the crowds, occasionally threw back the flowers to the crowds. Hundreds of activists carried the Congress party flags.

The winding route from the Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport to the Congress office at Mall Avenue, almost 25 km long, was replete with hoardings and banners. Posters of Priyanka, a few comparing her with Hindu goddess Durga, were plastered everywhere.

The Congress office had been painted afresh and decorated with hundreds of kilos of marigold and other flowers.

On Monday, Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra, now embroiled in investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, urged people to ensure her safety.

Priyanka Gandhi, who opened her Twitter account on Monday, said a day earlier that she wanted to “build a new future, new politics.”

“I have hope that together we will start a new kind of politics, a politics in which all of you will be stakeholders. Come, let’s build a new future, new politics with me.”

The 47-year-old Priyanka-she is usually referred to by just her first name-bears a striking resemblance to her grandmother, former prime minister Indira Gandhi, and is known for her gifts as a speaker able to connect with voters. Congress hopes that the eyeballs she’s able to generate will turn into votes.

“It’s like Indira Gandhi has come back,” said Fuzail Ahmed Khan, 45, a Congress supporter.

“The state’s farmers want Rahul Gandhi to be prime minister, Priyanka to be chief minister.” Posters of Priyanka lined the streets of the state capital, Lucknow, and hundreds of Congress supporters, accompanied by drummers, chanted her name after she emerged from the airport with her brother.

Although Priyanka has helped manage elections for her brother and her mother, former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, she has never held an official party post until now.

“I hope that we can together start a new kind of politics,” she said in an audio message shared by Congress.

Since the announcement of Priyanka’s entry into politics, India’s financial crime-fighting agency Enforcement Directorate has questioned her husband, Robert Vadra, for several hours in a case relating to alleged ownership of $2.45 million of undisclosed assets abroad. His lawyer and Congress have dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

Agencies

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