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Priyanka holds marathon meeting with party workers UP, ropes in an ally

PTI lucknow
Updated: 13-02-2019 22:12 IST
Priyanka holds marathon meeting with party workers UP, ropes in an ally

On the third day of her Uttar Pradesh visit, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Wednesday roped in little-known Mahan Dal as the party's ally for Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh and held threadbare discussions with Congress workers. Taking a break of just a few hours after night-long discussions with party workers, she resumed the exercise on Wednesday, prepping the party in eastern Uttar Pradesh for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Workers from Amethi, the constituency held by her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, met her around 11.30 pm Tuesday. When asked by reporters about a 'muqabla' (contest) with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the newly appointed AICC office bearer said, "Kar to rahe hein Rahulji, Modiji se muqabla (Rahul Gandhi is already taking on Modi)."

She also played down the questioning of her husband Robert Vadra by the Enforcement Directorate in Jaipur, in connection with an alleged land scam in Rajasthan's Bikaner district. "These things will keep on happening, I am doing my own work," she said.

The evening was marked by the announcement of the alliance with Mahan Dal led by Keshav Dev Maurya. Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Congress general secretary for western UP, and Maurya announced the alliance at the UP Congress office here in her presence.

"I welcome Keshav Maurya ji. We will fight the elections jointly. Rahul ji has given us the task of creating a political atmosphere in which everyone is taken along and all sections of society are represented," she said. "We will contest with full might," she said.

Mautrya said, "The Congress has always thought about the welfare of Dalits and the backward castes. It is the only party which thinks of taking everyone along with itself." "At present, there is an atmosphere of anarchy in the entire state. The alliance between Congress and Mahan Dal will last long," he said.

In 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections also, Mahan Dal had forged an alliance with the Congress. It had joined the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2014 but had contested the 2017 UP Assembly polls separately.

In western Uttar Pradesh, Mahan Dal had contested three Lok Sabha constituencies - Badaun, Nagina and Etah - but failed to win any. It claims support from the Other Backward Classes in western UP, particularly voters from Shakya, Maurya and Kushwaha castes.

On her marathon meeting with party workers, Priyanka Gandhi said she is happy to see the enthusiasm among them. "I am learning a lot about the organisation and how it is structured. I am getting views on how to fight the elections," she said.

Forty-one of the Lok Sabha constituencies in the state have been placed under her charge and the remaining 39 under Jyotiraditya Scindia. Priyanka Gandhi and Scindia were appointed AICC general secretaries for UP east and UP west respectively in January and took charge last week.

Among the constituencies placed under Priyanka Gandhi's charge are the key seats of Lucknow, Amethi, Rae Bareli, Sultanpur, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Phulpur, Allahabad, Barabanki, and Kushinagar. Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Pilibhit, Dhaurahra, Kanpur and Farrukhabad are some of the key constituencies in Scindia's charge.