Rahul to address 13 UP rallies in Feb

Rahul to address 13 UP rallies in Feb

Congress President Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference, in Dubai, Saturday, Jan 12, 2019.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is all set to address 13 rallies in Uttar Pradesh next month in a bid to rejuvenate the party cadre ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

The details about Rahul's 'Focus Uttar Pradesh' were made public a day after the Congress announced that it would contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on its own strength in the state that sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha.

"Rahul Gandhi will address 13 rallies in 13 zones of Uttar Pradesh," AICC general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, Ghulam Nabi Azad, told reporters here after chairing a meeting of party leaders from the state.

The first rally is expected to be held in Lucknow in the first week of February, with Rahul expected to visit the state every third day of the week through the month.

This is Congress' second attempt in three years to test its own strength in Uttar Pradesh. In 2016, it had launched a high-voltage campaign for the Assembly elections in the state, but abandoned the efforts midway and entered into an alliance with the SP, which proved to be a disastrous move.

Rahul's focus in Uttar Pradesh is expected to be on agrarian distress, job loss and the impact of a "faulty" GST and demonetisation on the economy.

The Congress had won 21 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2009 general elections and is expected to focus on these seats to regain its lost ground in the state.

Congress strategists believe that the 2014 Lok Sabha polls were equally bad for all the parties in the state as the BJP had managed to win 71 of the 80 seats on its own and helped its ally Apna Dal pocket two seats.

The Congress had won two seats — Amethi and Rae Bareli — represented by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. The remaining five seats were won by family members of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.