Uttar Pradesh elections: Congress to launch poll campaign in July

Sources said plans were changed after the party realised that November would be too close to the elections for Congress to be able to make an impact.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow | Published: June 6, 2016 2:47 am

The Congress is planning to launch its campaign for the 2017 Assembly elections from Allahabad in July through a grand public meeting to be addressed by Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, during which the party will invoke the Nehru-Gandhi family’s connection with Allahabad.

The party was earlier planning to hold this programme in November this year to mark former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s 100th birth anniversary in Allahabad, the birth place of both Indira as well as her father and country’s first PM, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. Sources said plans were changed after the party realised that November would be too close to the elections for Congress to be able to make an impact.

The decision to push things fast comes after the BJP decided to hold its National Executive Meet in Allahabad on June 12-13 followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public meeting there, although senior party leaders denied any connection.

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“Allahabad is going to be bigger than anyone expects. BJP can do as many executive meetings they want there but what Congress has in store for them would change everything,” said a senior party leader who is associated with the planning of the event.

He further said while Indira Gandhi’s birth centenary would also be celebrated in Allahabad in November, it would be too late to consider the event as launch of the party’s election campaign.

Ahead of the Allahabad programme, the party leadership has been asked to identify at least one lakh Congress workers from all across the state and call at least 50,000 of them to Lucknow, where Rahul Gandhi would address a a workers’ meet in the third week of June. Sources said that the Lucknow event would allow the party to assess the strength of its newly formed army of workers. Earlier, the party was planning to call around 35,000 workers for the event, but Rahul had asked for a list of at least one lakh verified workers before finalising the Lucknow meet, sources added.

“No dates have been finalised for the Allahabad programme yet, which would mark the beginning of the party’s campaign in UP. The Lucknow workers’ meet would act as a preliminary exercise towards it,” said the party leader.

It may be mentioned that Congress president Sonia Gandhi frequently visited Swaraj Bhawan, ancestral home of Nehru family in Allahabad. During these visits, which were termed by the party as “personal visits”, she would meet local leaders, who had also demanded the Congress to start its poll campaign from Allahabad. It would also give the Congress a platform to target the Centre over removing names of Indira and Nehru from central government schemes, by invoking both the leaders from their “homeland”.

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  1. P
    Jun 6, 2016 at 1:08 am
    Let Congress start any type of circus in Allahabad, nothing will happen, but one thing is going to happen soon that is the rift between Rahul and Priyanka is going to surface soon. There are so many chamchas on either side waiting for someone to trigger and Sonia will be a lone watcher.
    1. N
      Jun 6, 2016 at 12:39 am
      They can start anything whenever they want to start but nobody will vote to corrupted party. Congress is a chor party
      1. T
        Truth is
        Jun 6, 2016 at 11:46 am
        There is nothing to wonder, if Congress get a simple majority or at least the single largest party. The strong anti-BJP voters who comprise around 30 to 35% will this time shift en me to Congress as there is practically no use for supporting SP or BSP as both SP and BSP cannot stop BJP in 2019 LS election. A severe defeat of Congress in UP will simply make BJP invincible in 2019 LS elections, which anti-BJP voters don't want to materialize. If Congress can win over a large section of anti-BJP voters, they will get substantial sections of upper castes and dalits and that will make congress in the single largest party in UP and BJP may even go the fourth place after BSP and SP
        1. Vishal Patel
          Jun 6, 2016 at 11:46 am
          bjp 240 mark my word