LUCKNOW: Newly-appointed Congress general secretary and in-charge eastern UP Priyanka Gandhi Vadra stormed Lucknow and launched her party's 'Mission Uttar Pradesh' along with brother and AICC chief Rahul Gandhi and her western UP counterpart Jyotiraditya Scindia by embarking upon a road show from Chaudhary Charan Singh airport to UPCC office here on Monday.
Covering a distance of 15-km from airport to UPPCC office atop a bus turned into a rath along with a dozen senior Congress leaders including UPCC chief Raj Babbar, ex MPs like RPN Singh, Annu Tandon, Jitin Prasada, PL Punia, Rajeev Shukla, besides Jyotiraditya Scindia, Gandhis' road show passed through the crowded streets of Lucknow.
The roads of the state capital were replete with posters portraying the new Congress general secretary as in different avatars, 'Goddess Durga' being one, along with Rahul Gandhi.
A lot of symbolism was in play when Gandhis along with Scindia and other Congress leaders went to pay floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Dr BR Ambedkar during the roadshow at different locations.
The Congress high command, thus, tried to address three main constituencies in UP - showing its strength to the ruling BJP, sending across a message to SP-BSP alliance by garlanding Ambedkar's statue and infusing the energy in otherwise an inert and supine Congress worker.
Congress President @RahulGandhi arrives in Lucknow along with AICC General Secretaries & Incharges UP East & West @priyankagandhi & @JM_Scindia for a road show across the city. #NayiUmeedNayaDesh pic.twitter.com/sR9DmIxGWr— Congress (@INCIndia) February 11, 2019
Dressed in a pastel colour salwar kameez with an off white stole around her neck, Priyanka, pushed the 'Indira button' atop road show rath wearing her inimitable smile, accepting people's greetings, catching the garlands and waving to the cheering party workers.
The much-talked-about charisma of Priyanka Gandhi and her ability to connect with people was palpable when she, replicating her grandmother's style, was throwing the garland back to people walking along with her rath.
Suddenly she spotted a 5-year-old in the crowd. Calling her up on rath, Priyanka made her sit in her lap for a few moments thus striking a connection with people, an ability which AICC chief by and large misses.
Around 37 locations were identified as welcome spots for the Gandhis all through 15-km and five-hour-long road show. Political observers witnessed the road show as a grand welcome for the top three Congress leaders, through some of the most congested areas of the city.
All the main roads from airport till UPCC office were replete with poster saying: "Ye dushmano ke liye andhi hai, ye nai Indira Gandhi hai" and "aa gayee badlav ki aandhi, Rahul sang Priyanka Gandhi", Modi ki Lanka dahan karegi, Bahan Priyanka, Bahna Priyanka," besides the oft-repeated slogan of AICC chief calling the 'chowkidaar chor hai.'
At a number of locations, Congress workers were seen dancing to the beat of drums celebrating Priyanka Gandhi joining active politics."For us, Delhi had been very far this long. Now there won't be any disconnect between Lucknow and Delhi," said a senior Congress leader.
Notably, as per the Congress circles, all this long, Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairpersons Sonia Gandhi had visited Lucknow on twice.
A huge crowd of Congress workers carrying Congress flags and shouting slogans had swarmed the Lucknow roads to have a glimpse of the newly-appointed Congress general secretary making it tough for the moving vehicular traffic and a tougher for the cops.
The roadshow was interrupted for a few moments by the hanging DTH wires near Burlington square and Gandhis along with Scindia hopped to the roof of an accompanying SUV with the SPG personnel for some time and went back to their rath afterwards.
Earlier, Priyanka flanked by brother and AICC chief Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia reached Lucknow in the afternoon.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, seen as the trump card of Congress party and may prove to be a game changer in 2019 Lok Sabha elections for Congress announced her entry into politics as the party's general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh on January 23.
Entrusted with the revival of Congress's fortunes in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, if Priyanka Gandhi succeeds in facilitating the improvement in Congress's Lok Sabha tally from UP which sends 80 members to the lower house, it will be a symbolic victory for the party.
In 2014, Congress could win just two seats of Gandhi bastion -Rae Bareli (Sonia Gandhi) and Amethi (Rahul Gandhi). The last two Lok Sabha byelections in eastern Uttar Pradesh, for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituencies, were disastrous for the Congress.
Congress candidates managed to fetch only around 19,000 votes each and registered only a 2% vote share in each constituency.