NEW DELHI: From holding town hall with women to taking out padayatra and giving freebies to women voters, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is making all the noise but many in the party and opposition camps feel she started too late and this won’t be enough to woo the voters in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
Party leaders are of the view that Priyanka has been focusing on Uttar Pradesh off late with an eye on the women voters but this is unlikely to provide any electoral gains. The party won just seven seats in the 2017 UP Assembly elections with a vote share of 6.5 per cent while it won only one seat — Rae Bareilly held by Sonia Gandhi — in Lok Sabha elections.
“She is making the right noises and has announced several women-related sops in UP but she started reaching out to people very late. In a state with multi-corner contests and highly polarised elections, the Congress with no organisation has few chances to gain,” said a senior party leader.
Priyanka’s announcement to give 40 per cent party tickets to women in UP has created some ripples while the opposition attacked it as a political gimmick. She also announced freebies — three free gas cylinders to women, free-of-cost bus travel to women, smartphones for class 12 girl students, scooty for graduate students, farm loan waiver and free medical treatment up to Rs 10 lakh.
“These announcements for women are important but had she started reaching out to people two-three years back, things would have been a little different. It could have provided some edge to the party, for not winning seats but building confidence among people,” said an opposition party leader.
Priyanka is expected to continue with her focus on women voters in the state and is likely to hold town hall with women in Lucknow on November 13. Women are being trained as ‘Ladki Hoon Brigade’ as the party launched the ‘Ladki Hun, Ladh Sakti Hun’ slogan to reach out to the women in the state.