A DAY after attending a function commemorating the birth centenary of Indira Gandhi in Allahabad, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met local party leaders, enjoyed a stroll at the sprawling Anand Bhavan premises and visited the Kamla Nehru Hospital before returning to New Delhi.
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During a meeting with local leaders at Swaraj Bhawan, Priyanka was urged to campaign for the Assembly polls next year and also to select Phulpur as her Lok Sabha constituency, whenever she decides to contest. Phulpur had been represented by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1952, 1957 and 1962 Lok Sabha elections and twice by his sister Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.
“A 20-member delegation that attended the meeting included city Congress president, office-bearers and also former BSP minister Nand Gopal Nandi, who had joined Congress. Priyanka asked us about the party’s prospects in the elections and told us to work hard to increase our number of seats,” said Kishor Varshney, Congress spokesperson in Allahabad, who was also part of the delegation.
He added: “Priyankaji was also requested to contest from Phulpur but she said it was a far-off thing. We also urged her to start her campaign from Allahabad. She said she would see to it.”
This was the first occasion in more than a decade when Sonia and Priyanka were together at the Swaraj Bhavan. The last time they had spent the night at their ancestral house was during the campaign for
2002 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Varshney said.
On Monday, they were joined by Rahul Gandhi during the inauguration of the photo exhibition organised by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust. He, however, added that they (Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka) had also come to Anand Bhavan in 1991 when they were carrying the ashes of Rajiv Gandhi. “However, that was an occasion marked by grief and hence we do not wish to count that.”
On Tuesday morning, Sonia and Priyanka went to the Kamla Nehru Hospital — which is governed by a trust headed by the Congress president herself. Sonia inaugurated a blood bank there and interacted with a group of nurses who had completed their training recently.