Amidst showers of petals and raising of slogans, newly-appointed Congress general secretary Priyanka Vadra Gandhi, donned in white with light green design kurta, finally made official entry into the politics by holding a grand 20-km road-show here on Monday, being seen as launch of the party’s campaign in the State.
A huge crowd in which general public outnumbered the Congressmen turned up to get a glimpse of Priyanka, who was accompanied by Congress president, Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Priyanka just ‘smiled’ and waved all through the route to acknowledge the greeting from public and workers who turned out in large number to catch a glimpse of her.
Standing atop the flower-bedecked rath, Rahul held a cardboard cut-out of Rafale jet and showed it to the crowd reminding them about the corruption of the BJP-led Government at the Centre. The Congress workers raised anti-BJP and anti-Modi slogans.
In a short speech Rahul said the Congress will bat on front foot and will not rest till the Government with the Congress ideology is formed in UP. As Priyanka’s cavalcade rolled through the streets of Lucknow, the Capital of politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, Congress workers showered rose petals and threw marigold garlands at her, celebrating the much-awaited political debut. Immediately after the 25-km journey began, supporters began taking vantage points through the route to click photographs. Congress workers had been busy making arrangements for the roadshow since early morning. They were seen distributing food packets, tea and water to passersby. Patriotic songs were played on loudspeakers, elevating the mood of supporters. Some posters showed Priyanka as Goddess Durga on a lion.
“Maa Durga ka roop behen Priyankaji (sister Priyanka is Maa Durga’s incarnation),” read a poster. Another highlighted her resemblance with her grandmother Indira Gandhi.
Congress workers were seen wearing T-shirts with photographs of Priyanaka. Members of “Priyanka Sena,” a little-known organisation of her supporters, were also seen during the roadshow.
“With the Priyanka Sena at the Nehru Bhawan, Lucknow it is almost celebration here,” tweeted Sushmita Dev, president of All India Mahila Congress. She attached a photograph of her with members of the outfit. One of the banners on the vehicle read, “Aagai Priyanka. Baj gaya danka. Bhrashtachar ki ab Jalegi Lanka.”
Rahul and Priyanka, also had a tea at famous tea stall in Lalbagh. At Hazratganj crossing, all the leaders garlanded the statues of Mahatama Gandhi, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and Dr BR Ambedkar before proceeding to UPCC.
At Transport Nagar metro station, Amethi leaders displayed placards to welcome the trio — Priyanka, Rahul and Scindia. One of the ice-cream
vendors, threw an ice-cream cone towards Priyanka which she caught and handed over to Rahul. In a rare visual, Priyanka was seen on the front of the bus top while his brother stood behind her. Later all the three leaders — Priyanka, Rahul and Scindia were standing in the front while other UP leaders were in the back behind the security personnel. With slogan of Priyanka, Rahul zindabad, the Congressmen were beating drums on the entire way to welcome their leader.
Though the Gandhi family arrived around 45 minutes late, but the enthusiasm of the Congress workers could be seen. The crowd showered flowers on the leaders and in response, Priyanka, on her clear white suite, waved at them and even threw back the flower garlands at them. With a snail pace of the road show,, the security personnel witnessing a hard time to control the crowd , which was virtually coming in front of the bus.
Along with Priyanka, Rahul and Scindia, the bus was crowded with several UP Congress leaders like PL Punia, Jitin Prasada, RPN Singh, Rajiv Shukla, Deepak Singh and Raj Babbar. A senior Congress leader claimed that around one lakh Congress supporters from different parts of the state and even from adjoining Uttarakhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan had arrived in Lucknow on Monday morning to welcome Priyanka.
Earlier, Congress president Rahul, along with his sister and and UP West General Secretary Scindia were given a rousing welcome at the Choudhury Charan Singh airport. The Congress workers and leaders went berserk on seeing Priyanka and the security personnel had a hard time to control them, when the leaders arrived in the afternoon.
Priyanka, under tight security cover immediately left for the road show but she did not disappointed the workers and waved her hand to give a positive response to the workers assembled at the airport since early morning.
Congress general secretary and in-charge of Lucknow, Vinod Kumar Mishra, claimed that such a huge crowd was never seen in the past in any event. Several senior leaders including Maroof Khan, Amarnath Agarwal, Sidtharthpriya Srivastava, Zeeshan Haidar and others welcomed the leaders at the airport.
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 | PNS | Lucknow