After formally joining politics, Congress general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will make her maiden visit to Uttar Pradesh on Monday. Accompanied by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is now in charge for western UP, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has a hectic four-day trip ahead. The party in UP is seeing the visit as a virtual launch of the Congress campaign in the key state, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
This will be the first visit to UP for the Congress chief and Mr Scindia, as well, after the appointments were announced last month.
The state Congress has planned a grand welcome for the three top Congress leaders, who are expected to carry out a 12-kilometre long roadshow, said senior Congress leader KC Venugopal. Mr Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Mr Scindia are likely to stop on their way to the party office and pay their tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
While Mr Gandhi is likely to return to Delhi on the same day, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Mr Scindia will interact with party workers at the state Congress office in Lucknow on February 12, 13 and 14. Local Congress workers are charged up ahead of the senior leaders' visit tomorrow, said UP Congress spokesperson, Anshu Awasthi. The Congress party office in the state has been revamped. A newly-built media hall is also waiting to be inaugurated by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
In-charge of 42 of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in UP, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will meet the office bearers constituency-wise, Mr Awasthi told news agency PTI. District units of the Congress party have been asked to give lists of leaders, including former lawmakers ahead of the leaders' visit.
Out of the 42, the major constituencies that fall in the region, under her charge, include Prime Minister Modi's seat Varanasi and the state Chief Minister's stronghold Gorakhpur. Congress strongholds Amethi and Rae Bareli are also her responsibility. In boosting the party's prospects, taking on the formidable BJP and SP-BSP alliance will be Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's main political challenge.
Home to 80 Lok Sabha seats, UP sends the highest number of lawmakers to parliament, making it a key electoral battleground. While the BJP faces a new challenge in the state from the SP- BSP alliance, the Congress is trying hard to retrieve its lost ground. In 2014, the Congress could win only two seats in the state, Amethi and Rae Bareli, while the BJP won 71 seats, its ally Apna Dal got 2 and SP won 5 seats.
(With inputs from PTI & ANI)