IN HER first political statement after taking over as AICC general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday hit out at the BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand over the hooch tragedy, alleging that it was “unimaginable” that the business of illegal liquor operated on such a large scale “under the patronage” of the state governments.
Priyanka’s statement came a day ahead of her four-day visit to Uttar Pradesh, her first after being anointed as the general secretary in-charge of eastern UP. She along with Congress president Rahul Gandhi and AICC general secretary in-charge of western UP Jyotiraditya Scindia will hold a road show in Lucknow. Priyanka and Scindia will then camp in Lucknow for the next four days, meeting leaders and party workers.
In a voice message to party workers of the state on the eve of her visit, she said: “I have a wish in my heart that together we will start a new kind of politics, a politics in which all of you will be a stakeholder and where the voice of everyone, including my young friends, sisters and the weakest… is heard. Come join me in building a new future and new politics.”
In her statement, Priyanka said she was “saddened to know that more than 100 people have died” in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur, Kushinagar and several villages. “No amount of condemnation is enough for this heart-wrenching incident. It is unimaginable that the business of illegal liquor operated on such a large scale under the patronage of the Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh governments,” she said in a statement in Hindi.
Workers eager for direct access to high command
One of the reasons Congress workers in the state are eagerly awaiting Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s arrival is the opportunity to directly connect with the party high command, instead of just leaders who claim to be close to the family. They are also curious about her style of work, and looking forward to a more decisive campaign strategy.
She hoped that the BJP governments will take strict action against those responsible for the deaths and provide appropriate compensation as well as the provision of government jobs for the families of the deceased.
A similar video message was issued by Scindia as well, in which he said that the youth of the state want change and a road to the future, and urged the public to join his party in helping create the same.
Sources said Priyanka is likely to address the public at Lalbagh area of Lucknow, where the Congress has taken permission from the district administration for its road show to make a brief halt. The road show will begin from Lucknow airport, pass through the heart of the city and culminate at the party’s state headquarters.
Priyanka will start her state-wide tour from February 18, meeting local leaders and residents.
A day before her arrival, senior party leaders including state Congress president Raj Babbar, Rajeev Shukla, former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat, Rajya Sabha member and AICC general secretary in-charge of Chhattishgarh PL Punia and former MP Jitin Prasad arrived in Lucknow.
Babbar said that at a time when farmers in the country do not have any support and traders have no hope, one more member of the Nehru family has entered active politics.
“Priyanka and Scindia will be camping here for four days. Scindia has 38 constituencies under him while Priyanka ji has 42. She will be meeting leaders from each for about 45 minutes. They will go on field from February 18 to take opinion or leaders and interact with the public,” he added.
Party sources said that if they are granted permission, Priyanka’s next road show will be in Prayagraj, the birthplace of her grandmother Indira Gandhi and great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru. INPUTS FROM ENS, DELHI