Days after poll strategist Prashant Kishor promised a poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh the likes of which “people have not seen in 20-25 years”, the Congress has quietly started preparations for a “grand event” to be held in the third week of this month in Lucknow where party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be present.
UP goes to polls early next year, and speculation is rife that Priyanka may be pitchforked as star campaigner for the party, which has not been in power in the state for past 27 years.
For the past few days, probable candidates and district and block unit heads have been getting calls from state party unit and also Kishor’s team for crowd mobilisation.
Party leaders claimed that a target has been set to ensure a one-lakh strong gathering at the event, which would have workers representing each and every assembly constituency and a majority of the booths.
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Earlier, Kishor had made it compulsory for each party leader willing to contest the elections to send name of at least one worker from each booth of his respective constituency.
Against 403 assembly seats in UP, Congress claims to have received applications from about 9,000 people willing to contest the polls.
Sources informed that large number of the applicants have already submitted names of at least 250 workers representing each booth of their assembly. Thus, the event would also act as a “test of strength” of the ticket seekers.
For past three days, each of these probable candidates are getting calls asking them to be ready to mobilise the workers, whose names were sent by them.
“I got a call a day before yesterday, telling me that the names I had sent have been verified. I was asked how much time would I need to mobilise all these workers. I inquired and got to know that even others (probable candidates) have got similar calls,” confirmed a probable candidate from Lucknow.
Another ticket seeker too confirmed getting a similar call. “I was asked whether I would be able to mobilise the workers, whose names I had sent. I told them that it would not be difficult,” the leader said requesting anonymity.
District presidents too are being told to mobilise the workers. Kishor’s team had asked each district unit to send names of at least 20 workers from each assembly. Sources informed that some district units have also been told to arrange for transportation.