Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor has reportedly asked the party national leadership to bring in Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to campaign across Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the Assembly polls early next year.
This comes amid growing demand from party workers in UP to actively engage Priyanka in the 2017 campaign. Till now, Priyanka has mostly confined herself to campaign in Rae Bareli and Amethi, represented by her mother Sonia Gandhi and brother Rahul, respectively, in the Lok Sabha.
Sources said in a meeting held in Delhi recently, Kishor had pushed for Priyanka to be brought in to campaign all over the state.
Kishor is scheduled to camp in Lucknow for the next four days to formulate assembly-wise strategy for around 60 constituencies of eastern UP, including Varanasi, Allahabad and Gorakhpur divisions. Sources said even as seven teams — set up by Kishor — have started conducting surveys in 14 divisions, the plan is to begin poll preparations with these constituencies first while focusing on caste combinations on each seat.
On Tuesday, Kishor will interact with over 800 block party presidents. District and city presidents have also been asked to attend the meeting. “The initial focus is on eastern UP. Teams have already submitted reports based on the feedback received from 12 districts that fall under these three divisions. Now, we will come up with strategies for each seat based on caste and other factors,” said a party leader.
Among those invited for these meetings are respective district unit members, sitting and former MLAs, prominent and old faces of the party, heads of frontal organisations and probable candidates. Sources said Kishor, along with senior leaders like state president Nirmal Khatri and AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry, would try to come to a consensus about the overall strategy.
“The idea is to involve as many people as possible so that the final strategy is not imposed on anyone and agreed upon by all prominent leaders of the constituencies,” said a leader.
Sources said the issue of Priyanka joining the campaign is likely to be raised during these meetings. Another issue raised by the workers is the need to project a Brahmin, Dalit or Muslim face as the chief ministerial candidate before the elections. This is also likely to be raised on Tuesday. Following this, Kishor will discuss constituencies in Varanasi division on May 11, Allahabad on May 12 and Gorakhpur on May 13.