Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday participated in a roadshow in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow. Vadra, who was appointed Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East last month, was accompanied by party President Rahul Gandhi, Uttar Pradesh West General Secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia and state chief Raj Babbar, News18 reported.
The roadshow began at Amausi airport and will end at the Congress headquarters in the city.
Rahul Gandhi told the crowd that gathered to see the roadshow that the party would “play on front-foot” in the state, ANI reported. “Uttar Pradesh is the heart of the country,” he said. “Scindia ji, Priyanka ji and I won’t rest until a government of Congress’ ideology is formed here.”
Gandhi accused the nation’s “chowkidaar” – a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi – of “stealing money from Uttar Pradesh, other states and the Air Force”. This was a reference to his repeated allegations of the government’s wrongdoing in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France.
“The truth has now surfaced that he conducted parallel negotiations in the Rafale deal,” Gandhi said, referring to a news report in The Hindu. “The clause that enabled investigation in case of corruption, was waived by Modi.”
The Congress president said Uttar Pradesh has witnessed Narendra Modi’s governance failure. “Youth are saying that Narendra Modi failed in his promise to provide employment and benefited only people like Anil Ambani.”
The Congress president said he respects Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, but added that the Congress would contest the Lok Sabha elections with all its might in the state, the Hindustan Times reported. The SP and the BSP have formed an alliance but have left out the Congress.
On Sunday, Priyanka Gandhi had promised a “new future” for the people of Uttar Pradesh. “I am coming tomorrow [Monday] to Lucknow to meet all of you,” she said in an audio message on the party’s Shakti app. “I have hope in my heart that together we will start a new kind of politics, a politics in which all of you will be stakeholders – my young friends, my sisters and even the weakest person, all their voices will be heard.”
Her husband Robert Vadra wished her in a Facebook post on Monday. “There is a very vindictive and vicious political atmosphere...,” he wrote. “But I know, it’s her duty to serve the people and now we hand her to the people of India. Please keep her safe.”
Priyanka Gandhi, who joined Twitter earlier on Monday, is on a five-day trip to the state.
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Vinay Katiyar claimed the state was the “cremation ground” for the Congress. “They will get nothing here,” he claimed, adding that the roadshow was nothing but a gathering before a “funeral”.