Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is in Lucknow today to review the poll preparations in the state. During her visit, Priyanka Gandhi is also expected to meet party candidates who fought the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
Priyanka, who recently took over her official role in party politics, will be meeting all stakeholders to draw a strategy to strengthen the party for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
In the 2017 UP Assembly polls, the Congress, in alliance with the Samajwadi Party, had suffered a massive defeat at the hands of the BJP, winning only 54 of the total 403 seats.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won 73 seats while the Congress had managed to win only two. The Samajwadi Party had won five seats and the BSP had drawn a blank in the state.
Priyanka’s Lucknow visit comes a day before she formally kicks off campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls from the political hotbed of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Prayagraj and Varanasi, using the river route.
This will provide her an opportunity to interact the commoners and know their problems, the biggest of which is caused by recurring floods in these areas as well as the reality of Ganga cleaning, which was first launched by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Dwijendra Tripathi said.
"It would be the first time that any leader of this stature will be reaching out to the electorate using the river route in a motorboat, getting first-hand account of the people residing in these remote riverine areas," Congress spokesman Dwijendra Tripathi told PTI.
Priyanka's plans for the first phase of her campaign was stated in a letter submitted to the Election Commission and permission has been granted for her visit from Prayagraj to Varanasi from March 18 to March 20.
The letter also informs that Priyanka will use a motorboat to cover the distance of around 100 km and programmes to welcome her have been scheduled for which permission was required in compliance with the Model Code of Conduct.
In the second phase of her tour, she will travel further to Ballia and cross the river to touch Bihar at Chhapra.
In the second phase in the end of this month, Priyanka will cover a 210-km stretch from Varanasi to Ballia, touching about 150 villages along the banks of the Ganga. This second phase is likely to be of three days.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has assigned 42 parliamentary constituencies in eastern UP to Priyanka. While declaring her name at the eastern UP in-charge, Rahul had said that he wanted Priyanka to review the Congress in the state and ensure that there is Congress chief minister in 2022.