LUCKNOW: Congress’s star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi hit battle ground UP on Friday while making a strong pitch for a new era of development and batting for the SP-Congress alliance, while sibling Rahul Gandhi, in a shift from his customary political narratives, chose to draw a few Bollywood analogies to make his plot against his most prominent rival PM Narendra Modi while addressing the voters in Gandhi bastion, Rae Bareli.
Breaking the persona of backroom strategist who played a key role in cobbling SP-Congress alliance after days of hard bargain, Priyanka joined brother and Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi in slamming Modi when she labelled him, in no uncertain words, an outsider who was not needed in the role of an ‘adopted son’ for UP’s development. “UP ko apne vikas ke liye kisi bahar wale ki zaroorat nahi hai.
Uttar Pradesh ka har ek naujawan yahan ka vikas karega (UP does not need an outsider for development. Every young person of UP will uplift the state),” she said, adding that the formidable alliance between Rahul and Akhilesh was enough to take the state forward.
In a similar vein, Rahul spilled a few pearls of wisdom for the PM saying, “Rishte bolne se nahi, nibhane se bante hain (maintaining ties is more important than just forging them).”
Calling Modi’s constituency; Varanasi a civic mess, Rahul rejected all claims over its transformation and his attempt to clean the Ganga saying that the holy river was as polluted as ever.
Priyanka, having kept away from campaigning all this while, is likely to confine to Amethi and Rae Bareli as the two districts will vote on February 23 and February 27, respectively.
Arriving in Rae Bareli a day after Union Minister Smriti Irani’s accusations that the Congress scion was shying away from answering people’s queries over Akhilesh Yadav’s development pattern, Priyanka chose to ignore it.
In a bid to empathise with voters on the distress of demonetisation, the Congress leader dubbed it as an atrocity, especially against women who had to surrender all their secret savings owing to the note ban.
“He talks about women’s welfare. I am also a woman. PM imposed ban on currency notes, thereby, banning your savings. Was it not an atrocity against you?” she asked the women voters. She also spoke of the exemplary development of Amethi during her father Rajiv Gandhi’s stint as PM. “Bahut khokhle vaadey ho gaye. Varanasi ke logon se poochiye.
Aur phir Amethi ke logon se poochiye, Rajiv Gandhi ne PM hoke kis tarah Amethi ko mazboot kiya (Enough of hollow promises. Ask the people how Amethi was developed by Rajiv Gandhi when he was the PM),” she said.
The Gandhi scion is expected to campaign in the region over the next few days. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is also expected to pitch for the alliance candidates in Rae Bareli on February 20, a day before campaigning for the fourth phase ends.