Priyanka stands by women in UP to revive Congress’ lost glory
Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has launched a high-pitch electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh to win women voters and regain the party’s lost image.
Addressing a crowd at Gorakhpur recently, Priyanka strode on stage and asked the crowd to repeat after her: “I’m a woman, I can fight.”
“I want to assure women that I will fight for them, the Congress party will fight for them,” Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said last week at the election rally in Gorakhpur, the stronghold of chief minister Yogi Adityanath. About 10,000 out of the estimated 40,000 people who gathered to listen to Priyanka were women.
It is evident that Priyanka is keen to woo women voters ahead of the state elections early next year. Congress was once the most dominant party in India’s most populous state with the Nehru-Gandhi family enjoying extreme popularity here. However, the party gradually lost support with the rise of BJP and regional heavy weights like the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. Former party president Rahul Gandhi has failed to revive the party’s prospects so far.
Congress’ ability to rise up to BJP’s challenge in 2022 (state polls) and 2024 (general elections) greatly depends on Priyanka’s ability to woo voters back to the grand old party. On its part, the Congress has promised women 40% of tickets and a similar quota in jobs if the party comes to power in Uttar Pradesh. It has also promised electric scooters and smartphones to female students, free rides on government buses to all women, three free cooking-gas cylinders per family a year, and gender-based job reservations.
A spate of violence against women in UP is an issue that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra raises in every rally with a promise of change if the Congress is voted to power.
“People, especially women, have started looking at Congress with hope, that the party will stand with women and become their voice,” Sunita Mishra, 40, a party worker, told Reuters during the Gorakhpur rally.
Gorakhpur Congress president Nirmala Paswan said that “change is coming and women are going to bring it.”