Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra politely refused a request by her party workers to be weighed on giant scales against laddoos -- a photo op seen by many politicians, especially in north India, as a status symbol.
Priyanka Gandhi was travelling late on Wednesday night between Amethi, her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi's Lok Sabha constituency, to her mother Sonia Gandhi's Raebareli seat. En route, local Congress leaders had put up a tent and had placed weighing scales decorated with flowers, with boxes of boondi laddoos stacked up on one end.
The Congress leader stopped her SUV to meet with the Congress leaders. She was filmed by locals looking extremely amused when asked to sit on the scale and get weighed against laddoos. The idea was to distribute sweets worth her weight among workers.
"Do you think I weigh more than one quintal," Priyanka Gandhi was quoted by news agency ANI as saying. Everyone around her burst into laughter. "Aap Baith jaiye (you sit)," Priyanka Gandhi told a local Congress leader, urging him to sit on the scales instead. The sweets were later distributed to Congress workers and supporters. It is not clear whether Priyanka ate one too.
The Congress general secretary is on a three-day UP tour, her second ground campaign in the state after she was appointed by the Congress as its eastern UP in-charge. After spending Wednesday in Amethi, she will hold closed door meetings with Congress workers in Raebareli today and will head to the Faizabad constituency on Friday. The Faizabad seat also includes Ayodhya - the temple town home to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. In Ayodhya, Priyanka Gandhi is likely to hold a roadshow and also make a visit to the famous Hanuman Gadhi temple.
In the 2009 election, the Congress won the Faizabad seat and also constituencies surrounding it like Barabanki, Gonda and Bahraich. But in 2014, the party lost all these seats to the BJP. Reviving the party in this region is one of Priyanka Gandhi's priorities.