Ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections in UP, Congress is planning to launch a year-long nationwide campaign in which the party will invoke former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Nehru-Gandhi family’s association with Allahabad. Having referred to Rae Bareli as “karma bhumi” of Indira (she used to contest elections from here) for many years now, the Congress leadership is now all set to project Allahabad as “janma bhumi” of Indira on a grand scale in the new campaign.
Even though the year-long campaign is yet to be given a final shape at the AICC level, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, during her recent surprise visit to Allahabad, spoke about the party’s plan at a party meeting. Congress MLA from Allahabad Anugrah Narain Singh, who led the delegation of local leaders while meeting Sonia, told The Indian Express, “We requested her to be present in Allahabad on the occasion of the birth centenary of Indira Gandhi and participate in the programme here. She assured us that the entire Gandhi family as well as party’s senior leadership would be in Allahabad on November 19 this year to mark the day.”
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“The countrywide campaign on Indira which will highlight the Congress’s contribution to the nation would be launched from here. Swaraj Bhawan would be made the headquarters of the campaign,” Singh added.
Elaborating further on the campaign, Singh said, “This campaign would be the perfect answer to the BJP, which has been shouting that the country has done nothing in the past 60 years. Instead of seminars, the party would go to villages with a report card of Congress rule, talk about Indira Gandhi and the Gandhi-Nehru family connection and discuss the policies adoped by previous governments, including the BJP.”
Asked why Allahabad, Indira’s birthplace, did not get priority in the recent past, Singh cited “busy schedule” but claimed “the connect was always there”.