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Posted at: Feb 11, 2019, 8:35 PM; last updated: Feb 11, 2019, 8:35 PM (IST)

Lucknow’s rousing welcome to Priyanka Gandhi

Lucknow’s rousing welcome to Priyanka Gandhi
Congress president Rahul Gandhi with party general secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia during a roadshow, in Lucknow, Monday, February 11, 2019. PTI photo

Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service
Lucknow, February 11

It appeared to be a political spring for the Congress party in the state on Monday.  The rousing reception made Congress President Rahul Gandhi to declare that the party without hesitation would fight on the front foot in every state.

Thanking the city of Lucknow for the love-filled grand reception to the two newly appointed general secretaries—Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia—Gandhi said that they have been appointed to end the injustice of the current government and establish a just government.

Announcing the new responsibilities of Priyanka, Scindia and the Uttar Pradesh Congress team, Gandhi said that he wanted them to ensure a better performance during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls but guarantee a Congress government in the Vidhan Sabha polls.

The unprecedented crowds lined the 15 km route from the Chaudhary Charan Singh airport to the UPCC headquarters—a journey that took close to 5 hours.

The entire route was decked up with posters, hoardings and slogans comparing Priyanka with her iconic former prime minister grandmother Indira Gandhi.

“Priyanka nahi yeh Aandhi hai, doosri Indira Gandhi hai” (This is not Priyanka but a storm, a second Indira Gandhi). Even the bus which had been refurbished as a rath had a poster showing Indira Gandhi with the slogan “In mein tum dikhti ho” (You remind us of her).

The Congress entourage stopped at the Hazratganj crossing, where the Gandhis and Scindia garlanded the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhimrao Ambedkar and Sardar Patel.

The rath, a bus with a barricaded top, had to be abandoned near Hussainganj crossing when the bus got stuck in the low lying overhead wires. The leaders moved to an SUV till Hazratganj crossing from where they returned to the rath till the UPCC headquarters.

Priyanka kept waving and accepting the stirring welcome of the Congress leaders and cadres with folded hands. She was seen interacting with some of them who had approached her for selfies, giving her security a tough time.

However, those who had come to hear her had to return disappointed—neither she nor Scindia addressed the crowds, either on the way or at the UPCC headquarters.

Cut outs of the Rafale jet was displayed by Rahul Gandhi as well as many members of the crowd during the road show.

A set of youngsters with alphabets painted on their stomach that together read “Chowkidar chor hai” accompanied the rath and fascinated Rahul enough to take their photograph on his mobile phone.

After addressing the gathering, Congress president Rahul Gandhi left the UPCC headquarters along with Priyanka, who has reportedly left for Jaipur to be with husband Robert Vadra, who is likely to be questioned by the ED in the Bikaner land case.

She is expected to return on Monday and remain at the Nehru Bhawan till February 14 talking to party leaders.

Both the general secretaries are expected to remain in the city for the next three days interacting with ground level leaders of the constituencies assigned to them.

Priyanka, who’s the AICC general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, will meet leaders of the 42 constituencies of Purvanchal to review the ground situation. Jyotiraditya Scindia, in charge of the 38 constituencies of western Uttar Pradesh will meet leaders from these areas around the same time.

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