With Priyanka in eastern UP, Cong plans to 'corner' BJP

Last Updated 23 January 2019, 16:12 IST

By handing over the charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh to the newly appointed party general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi, the Congress has signaled its intention to ''corner'' the BJP bigwigs in their bastions.

The eastern region of the state has around 30 Lok Sabha seats and it houses several VIP constituencies, including Varanasi, represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gorakhpur, the home town of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The other important Lok Sabha constituencies in the region include Azamgarh, currently represented by SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav; Sultanpur from where Varun Gandhi is the MP and Prayagraj.

Congress sources in Lucknow said that Priyanka, who had hitherto confined herself to campaigning in Amethi and Raebareli— the Parliamentary constituencies of her brother and party chief Rahul Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi respectively, would be campaigning extensively in the eastern UP region in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The state Congress leaders in Lucknow said that Priyanka's campaign in the eastern region would ''tie'' the top leaders of the saffron party there and it would also help Rahul in Amethi from where Union minister Smriti Irani is likely to contest again in the polls.

Priyanka is likely to launch her UP campaign by addressing a public meeting in the state capital on February 10, sources said.

''Priyankaji will be touring every district in the eastern UP region in the run up to the next LS polls... She will be holding public meetings, interacting with the local leaders and workers,'' a senior UP Congress leader told DH in Lucknow.

Sources said that Priyanka also plans to visit Varanasi, where she would be pay obeisance at the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Kalbhairav temple.

Analysts, however, differ on whether Priyanka would be able to ''revive'' the Congress in UP.

''Priyanka's entry will certainly prove to be a big boost for the morale of Congress workers... She is a good orator and understands the political pulse well,'' says Pradeep Kapur, a Lucknow based political analyst.

''Its more of a publicity than anything else... Priyanka will not be able to do much... The Congress has no organisational base in UP,'' counters media analyst J P Shukla.

(Published 23 January 2019, 15:30 IST)

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