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India: Priyanka Gandhi's Uttar Pradesh poll campaign delayed over 'friendly' SP tussle

Priyanka Gandhi is also more keen on meeting with grassroots workers, instead of door-to-door campaigning. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India Feb 12, 2017, 04.21 PM (IST) Kartikeya Sharma

The election campaign to be held by Priyanka Gandhi in Rae Bareli and Amethi has been keeping the local Congress workers on the tenterhooks.

The earlier plan to reach Amethi on February 13 and begin the campaign the next day has been delayed due to complications. Sources say that the decision to reschedule the dates took place after Priyanka received a different feedback from local Congress workers.

Sources to WION also confirmed that there are three seats in the family stronghold which will be contested by both the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, which has complicated the programme further.

“How can you expect our leader not to campaign for the Congress candidates even if they are engaged in a friendly fight,” said a source.

Local leaders also confided to WION that they suspect that Mulayam Singh Yadav also intends to campaign in the Gandhi borough.

Some leaders in Rae Bareli say that that alliance has benefitted the Congress through the state but hasn’t helped them in the constituencies of Rae Bareli and Amethi.

It is because of these considerations that Priyanka Gandhi's final programme is getting delayed.

The feeling in the local unit is that since couple of expelled SP leaders are also contesting elections on different symbols, they may spoil the chance of Congress candidates, which would reflect badly on Priyanka.

One of the political aides close to Priyanka also suggested that they are ready to campaign in the districts without her but the biggest worry is that lack of clarity has stalled their own local campaign.

On top of it, Priyanka is also more keen on workers' meet instead of door-to-door campaigning which is being opposed by the local workers. Sources say that local workers want Priyanka campaign widely and hold public rallies.  

Lastly, there is also an element of wariness in the Congress ranks about the perils of overexposing Priyanka in Uttar Pradesh so that the mistake of 2012 is not repeated.

Priyanka is expected to contest Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and Congress till then would not like to show its hand. So a limited, defined and short campaign burst is being expected from her this time around which would be different from 2012 where she held more than 200 nukkad sabhas (public campaigning) in both the constituencies.


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