Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra kicked off her party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh on Monday by offering prayers at the Lette Hanuman temple near Sangam.
During her three-day visit, Priyanka will cover a distance of 100-km by boat in Ganga from Allahabad to Varanasi — the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hopping from one temple to another. Her Ganga cruise is being seen by political observers as an effort to navigate her party out of a nearly three-decade long wilderness in the state.
The Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh offered prayers on the banks of Sangam — a confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati.
In a tweet, Priyanka recalled her memories associated with Swaraj Bhawan, where her grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi was born. “Sitting in the courtyard of Swaraj Bhawan, I can see the room where my grandmother (Indira Gandhi) was born. While putting me to sleep at night, she used to tell stories of Joan of Arc. Her words reverberate even today. She used to say — become fearless and everything will be alright,” the Congress leader said in a tweet in Hindi.
Soon after her arrival here on Sunday, Priyanka said political stagnation in Uttar Pradesh had left the state’s youth, women, farmers and labourers distressed and it was her responsibility to change the politics here. “Due to stagnation in the politics of the state, youngsters, women, farmers and labourers are worried. They want to share their pain and agony, but in the noise of political arithmetic, their voice is completely absent from the policies of the state,” she said in an open letter.
Gandhi said political transformation in the state was not possible without listening to the voices of the people and sharing their pain. “Hence, I have come to your doorstep for a ‘sacha samwaad’ (genuine conversation). I assure you that based on the conversation with you, we will bring transformation in politics. We will move towards solving your problems,” she said in the letter.
The Congress leader said she would reach out to people through various means of transportation, including waterways, buses, train and ‘padayatra’ (on foot). “River Ganga is a symbol of truth and equality. It is also a symbol of our ‘Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb’ (cross culture). It does not differentiate among people. Gangaji is the lifeline of Uttar Pradesh and with her support I will reach you,” Priyanka said letter read.
As part of her campaign tour, Priyanka will also visit Bhadohi and Mirzapur districts. Polling will be held in seven phases in Uttar Pradesh from April 11 to May 19. Results will be announced on May 23.