Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandhi flagged off a bus yatra from Delhi to Kanpur on Saturday launching the party's campaign for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. During the three-day tour, party leaders will travel around the state in the bus with slogan '27 Saal UP Behaal'. They will highlight 27 years of poor governance in the state since Congress's defeat in the 1989 state elections. Uttar Pradesh, which has 403 Assembly seats, will go to polls in 2017.

"This time people in Uttar Pradesh want development. They see the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party as parties that create a divide. We want clean politics in Uttar Pradesh and this is our agenda," said All India Congress Committee General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad. Congress chief ministerial candidate for the state, Sheila Dikshit and state party chief Raj Babbar are among the leaders who set out on the 600-km drive on Saturday.

Rahul Gandhi will meet 50,000 party workers in Lucknow on July 29 while Sonia Gandhi will hold a roadshow in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency, Varanasi, on August 2. The ruling Samajwadi Party, however, mocked the Congress’ campaign and said such “gimmicks won’t work” in the state. SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary told ANI that the Congress has no right to ask for accounts of work done when they have never given any in the past 60 years when they were in power at the Centre.

In the last Assembly elections, the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party secured a majority by winning 224 seats. While the BSP bagged 80, the BJP finished third with 47 seats.