Rahul Gandhi kick-started his mission to revive Congress party in Uttar Pradesh…its stronghold once upon a time. This is Gandhi’s third attempt to usher in life and energy into his party’s moribund organisation in the state after taking the mantle in 2007 and 2012 assembly polls. UP will poll early next year to elect new state government.
Resorting to grounded and exhaustive 2500 km-long Kisan Yatra, the Congress Vice-President will be holding series of ‘Khaat Sabhas’ – a term denoting meeting over cots rather than elevated stages and waiving of hands from behind the barricades – for a month.
Beginning his campaign, also named ‘Deoria to Dilli yatra’, from the eastern Uttar Pradesh town of Deoria, he met farmers promising loan waiver and reduction in power tariff by 50 per cent if voted to power in the 2017 Assembly polls.
“Door to door campaign begins from village Pachladi. Met farmers, & collected Kisan Maang Patras outlining their demands,” he shared on a micro-blogging site Twitter.
Soon after reaching here 10.45 AM by a chopper, Gandhi started knocking at the doors of farmers.
Rahul was accompanied by party colleagues and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, also the general secretary in-charge of UP. He visited houses of farmers and collected ‘Kisan Mangpatras” (charters of farmers demands) and interacted with them one-to-one as part of his ‘Khaat Sabha’.
“..Rahul ji came here and listened to us patiently. He collected details of my outstanding loan and also noted down my mobile number. He assured me that if Congress comes to power in the state, then his party will waive off farmers’ loans and slash power tariff by 50 per cent,” Om Prakash Singh, a farmer, told the press pack keenly following Gandhi’s campaign.
Beside Khaat Sabhas, he will also hold road shows at various places during his on-foot campaign. On the first two days of the yatra, Gandhi will cover Kushinagar, Gorakhpur, Sant Kabirnagar and Basti besides Deoria.
During the mahayatra, the Congress leader will cover as many as 233 Assembly constituencies to reach out to people ahead of the polls crucial for the Congress party to be in the fray.
Earlier last month, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had held a mammoth road show in Varanasi, which also happens to be PM Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency. The crowds at Sonia’s road show had certainly pepped-up the party apparatus in the state so hoping for nothing short than a miracle to see its fortunes revived.