Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress general secretary, has returned to Uttar Pradesh after a month. She had put off her political engagements on February 14 following the terror attack at Pulwama.
But this week she travelled to Meerut to call on emerging Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Ravan and visited Shamli before reaching Varanasi. She is expected to reach Lucknow on Sunday.
But she has clearly been fairly active behind the scene to stitch a rainbow coalition in Uttar Pradesh. She has already inducted several influential people and potential candidates from several other parties and given them ticket to contest for the Lok Sabha as Congress candidate.
Under this arrangement Savitri Bai Phule, Omwati, Rakesh Sachan, family member of former Union Minister Ramlal Rahi, Kauser Jahan etc. have already been fielded by the Congress this time.
Last month Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, both of whom are in charge of UP, met leaders of Mahan Dal and sealed an alliance with the regional outfit with its support base in Western UP
Observers have noticed the seriousness with which the Congress is trying to reinvent itself. It has nothing to lose in Uttar Pradesh, from where it has just two MPs in the Lok Sabha, six in the UP Assembly and just about six per cent of the vote share. However, the party has everything to gain and this is reflected in the bold moves being made in recent weeks.
Last month Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, both of whom are in charge of UP, met leaders of Mahan Dal and sealed an alliance with the regional outfit with its support base in Western UP. Mahan Dal has support from OBC voters of western UP especially Shakyas, Mauryas and Kushwahas. In western UP Mahan Dal had contested three Lok Sabha constituencies in Badaun, Nagina and Etah though it lost all.
Congress leaders are also said to be in touch with both the factions of Apna Dal, union minister Anupriya Patel and her sister Pankhuri, both of whom have called on Congress leaders. Congress leaders are also in touch with Nishad Party, which commands good influence in eastern UP
Priyanka Gandhi has also met Dr Ayub, President of Peace Party and President of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party, Shivpal Yadav who was number two in the Akhilesh Yadav Government and was state President of Samajwadi Party.
(With inputs from IPA)