Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's children Raihan, Miraya join election rally in Arrekode


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New Delhi:

Congress General Secretary (UP East) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is usually flanked by many senior party leaders, had a couple of new campaigners at her rally on Saturday -- her son Raihan and daughter Miraya. Raihan and Miraya accompanied their mother after addressing an election rally at Arrekode town in the district.

Priyanka on Saturday addressed four public rallies including one in Wayanad from where her brother Rahul Gandhi is contesting the Lok Sabha election apart from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

Later in the day, she also held a road-show at Arrekode. This was Priyanka's first election campaign outside Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Attacking Narendra Modi, Priyanka Gandhi said there has never been a "weaker government" and "weaker Prime minister" than the incumbent ones, as she sought to highlight the values and virtues of a true leader.

Campaigning in Wayanad is contesting besides his stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, she sought to know whether suppressing the voice of those who criticise the government's policies amounts to nationalism.

She also alleged that the BJP government had "betrayed" the faith of people, who voted it to power. Making a strong pitch for her brother, the Congress' general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh East took part in four election rallies in the constituency and met the farmers of Wayanad as thousands of people thronged the meetings.

Addressing a massive rally of farmers at Pulpally, she questioned the nationalism of those who refused to listen to thousands of farmers who had "marched barefoot" to Delhi to highlight their problems.

She said people deserve a Prime Minister who respects them and does not dismiss his own promises casually.

"Sisters and brothers of Wayanad, I have never seen a weaker government, than the government that has been in power for last five years in India. I have never seen a weaker Prime Minister than the Prime Minister of India today. My sisters and brothers, I think you deserve better. I think you deserve a government that speaks for you," Priyanka Gandhi said.

Continuing to attack Modi, the congress leader claimed the prime minister, who cannot take out one day to visit even a single house in his constituency in five years, does not respect the people of the country.

"A Prime Minister who is afraid of questions, who is afraid to answer people when they ask him what he wants to do for them, who is afraid of criticism, who cannot tolerate dissent is not a strong Prime Minister," she said.

She said a government which suppresses its own people, that does not allow freedom of speech, or to practice own religion or culture, is not a strong government.

"Weakest of all is the government that divides you instead of uniting. That makes you afraid instead of filling you with courage. That makes you worried of speaking your views in public.

That's the weakest form of governance that could possibly exist," she said during a rally at Areekode.

She asked the voters of Wayanad to consider democracy and the vote as their weapons.

"When you see advertisements by the BJP which use words like you have been 'gifted' by certain policies or that the government is doing certain things as a favour to you, you must question it...

Because, nothing a leader does, a politician does or a political party does for your benefit is not a favour but their duty," she said. The government which does not have the "guts" to accept the power of its people, it is a weak government and it must be "taught a lesson", she said.

Narrating her experience when she went to Uttar Pradesh, she said she was asked by some women to make a promise, that is to construct a bridge across the river in their village.

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"I got scared. I did not know how much it will cost, whether the government has sanctioned it or not. So I cannot make this promise. And when I tell you that you must recognise your strength, you must understand, the fear that I felt in my heart, that making a wrong promise I cannot fulfill. It should be a fear that you instill in the hearts of politicians who come before you," Priyanka Gandhi said.

She said if a leader was a true nationalist, he does not spread hate, but spreads love and does not divide but unites. Canvassing votes for Rahul Gandhi, she asked the voters to exercise their franchise carefully and use their vote to protect the country, democracy and their rights.

Attacking the NDA government, she wanted to know if "attempts" to destroy the constitution and weakening institutions that protect rights of people was nationalism.

"They (BJP) attempt to divide you and talk about nationalism... When thousands of farmers marched barefoot from all corners of the country to your doorstep and you send them away without listening to their suffering.. When people raise their voice in protest against you, when they criticise your policies...you jail them, beat them.. Is that nationalism?" she asked.

Referring to BJP leaders invoking Pakistan in their election speeches, the congress leader said they never speak of what they were going to do for the people of the country.

Earlier at a rally in Manthawady, she said the saffron party, when it came to power, forgot who gave them the power.

"Five years ago, a government came to power that was voted with majority. The people of our country, with all their wisdom, rested their faith upon them. But from the moment it came to power, it began to betray the faith of the people,"  Priyanka Gandhi said. She also found time to meet seven-year-old Naadan, a boy who was seen crying in a video which went viral as he was unable to see Rahul Gandhi when he visited the state earlier.

She gave him an autographed photo of the Congress chief. Rahul Gandhi had earlier called and talked to Naadan over phone after the video went viral.

"She will be visiting the house of CRPF jawan Vasanth Kumar, who was killed in the Pulwama terror attack in February, tomorrow," a senior party source said.

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