On her maiden visit to Lucknow after being made AICC general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra held a grand roadshow across the state capital but chose not to speak. Congress president Rahul Gandhi and party in charge of western region of the state, Jyotiraditya Scindia, accompanied her during the six-hour event.
It was the Congress president who addressed people, first at Lalbagh, and then workers at the party office, focusing on how the “target” of Priyanka and Jyotiraditya Scindia is to form government in the state after the next assembly elections. Rahul thanked people as well as party workers on behalf of Priyanka and Scindia for the welcome.
The three leaders began the road show on a bus, with a selected group of Congress leaders from Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, including the party’s young Brahmin face, Jitin Prasada; OBC face, RPN Singh; Dalit face and AICC general secretary, PL Punia; and young minority face, Imran Masood. Congress state president Raj Babbar, legislature party leader, Ajay Kumar Lallu, former MP Annu Tandon and former Uttrakhand chief minister Harish Rawat also joined the leaders on the bus.
Party workers welcomed them at different points with garlands and drum beats, while they raised slogans. Just after leaving the airport, Rahul and Priyanka waived a cut-out of an air force plane, as a sign of Rafael deal. Rahul was seen prodding her towards people waiving at her from the crowd. The leaders had to duck down at various places as low-hanging electricity wires posed a threat. They had to get down from the bus at Burlington crossing and complete the rest of the roadshow atop an SUV.
At Lalbagh area, Rahul and Jyotiradiya had tea, before the Congress president addressed the people. Rahul began his speech by shouting Chowkidar…” and asked people for the continuation when they responded with “Chor hai”. Rahul said that a newspaper recently made it clear that Narendra Modi made negotiations in the Rafale jet deal.
Uttar Pradesh is the “Dil” of the country, Rahul said and added, “Ab maine Priyanka aur Scindia ji ko yahan ka general secretary banaya hai aur maine inse kaha hai ki Uttar Pradesh mein jo salon se anyay ho raha hai uske khilaf in logon ko ladna hai, aur Uttar Pradesh mein nyay wali sarkar lani hai” (I have made Priyanka and Scindia general secretaries for Uttar Pradesh and have told them that they have to fight the injustice that has been going on in the state for years and form a government of justice in the state).
Rahul added, “Inka lakshya Lok Sabha mein jaroor hai, magar inka laksha Vidhan Sabha mein Congress party ki sarkar banane ka hai. Aur hum yahan pe frontfoot pe khelenge, backfoot pe nahi khelnewale hain. Aur jab tak yahan Congress party ki vichar dhara ki sarkar nahi banegi tab tak Scindia ji, Priyanka ji aur main chain se nahi rahenge.” (While their main target is Lok Sabha, it is also to form a Congress government in the state… till a government conforming to Congress ideologies is not formed here, Scindia, Priyanka or me will not rest.)
Rahul said the Congress government would be that of youngsters, poor and farmers. The leaders garlanded the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Sadar Patel and Ambedkar near Hazaratganj roundabout before reaching Congress headquarters around 6pm, where they inaugurated the new media hall.
Rahul told party workers that the fight ahead is that of ideologies. “Yeh vichar dhara ki ladai hai, ek taraf Congress Party ki vichar dharna, bhaichare aur Janta Ko jodne ki vichar dhara… aur dusari taraf RSS, BJP, Narendra Modi ki vichar dhara – janta ko todne ki, desh mein nafrat failana ki vichar dhara.” (It is a fight of ideologies. On one side there is ideology of Congress, which believes in brotherhood and bringing people together. On the other hand, there is ideology of RSS, BJP and Narendra Modi which is to create a divide among people and create hatred). He added that he sent Priyanka and Scindia to Uttar Pradesh because the party was started from the state where it can’t go weak.