Those who struggled for justice should be part of electoral politics: Priyanka Gandhi
While releasing the party's candidate list, she said the party wants to bring in a new kind of politics in UP by putting those who have fought for justice in the forefront of electoral politics
The Congress has turned over a new leaf by bringing into electoral politics those who have struggled for justice, Priyanka Gandhi said on Thursday after releasing the party's first list of 125 candidates, including 50 women, for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
She said the Congress has brought women to centre stage of politics in Uttar Pradesh and no party can ignore them anymore.
Addressing an online press conference while releasing the party's candidate list, she said the party wants to bring in a new kind of politics in the state by putting those who have fought for justice in the forefront of electoral politics and by focussing on positive campaigns instead of negative narratives.
She said it is easy to mobilise people on hate and negativity, but very difficult to mobilise them on issues concerning them and development.
The Congress general secretary said the party seeks to strengthen itself in Uttar Pradesh and bring the issues concerning people, development and women empowerment to centre stage of politics.
As she released the first list of party candidates, she said the Congress wants women to participate in the political process as they comprised 50 per cent of the population and it is their right to stand up for themselves.
"Our list gives a new message -- if there is injustice with you, then you have the power to fight for your rights. In Uttar Pradesh, the Congress party will provide that power to you and will support and help you in all ways so that you fight for yourself, come into politics and take power in your hands and then ask for your rights yourself," she told reporters.
She said with 40 per cent of the candidates being women and 40 per cent of them being youth, the party hopes to start a new kind of politics in Uttar Pradesh.
"It is a historic start," she claimed, adding, "We hope we will start a new kind of politics."
"Change is certain when the voices of struggle and of those making new politics come together. Change is certain when we walk together with the determination to win UP. UP will fight and will win," she later said in a tweet in Hindi, using the hashtag "Congress is coming".
Priyanka Gandhi skirted a question on whether she would contest the assembly polls, but said she would remain in Uttar Pradesh even after the polls and continue to raise issues of people.
She said her party would certainly support any other party after the elections to keep the BJP out of power.
"I will continue my efforts and will remain in UP even after elections. But if my party wants me to play a role elsewhere, I will fulfil that. I will continue to raise issues of people and bring in a new kind of politics," she said.
"I feel very strongly that we need to steer politics, not just of UP, but of the country, into a more positive and constructive direction," she said.
"It is much easier to mobilise people on hate and negativity. It is much much tougher to mobilise people on a positive agenda. But if we don't start, it is never going to happen," she said, adding that the youngsters are looking for politics that shows them a future.
The Congress in its first list fielded the Unnao rape victim's mother Asha Singh from the Unnao assembly seat and anti-CAA activist Sadaf Jafar from Lucknow central.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also tweeted, "In Unnao, the one with whose daughter the BJP did injustice, now she will become the face of justice - will fight and win! #Election2022".
Priyanka Gandhi said the Congress wants that Asha Singh should carry forward her struggle and get justice.
"I want her to take power in her hands and carry forward her fight," she said, adding that the party has given tickets to journalists, actors, activists and social workers who have struggled on the streets for justice and for their rights.
The Congress is banking on women power and has announced that it will reserve 40 per cent of the seats for women candidates in the upcoming polls.
"We are mobilising women to stand up for themselves and ask what is rightfully theirs to participate in the political process with the energy, strength and capacity that they actually have," she said, adding that she does not see them as a separate vote bank.
"I see this as empowering women to ask for their rights and stand up for themselves and see it as their right. It is absolutely their right to participate in politics, as they comprise 50 per cent of the population," she said.
The Congress general secretary said the party's role will be two-pronged -- to strengthen the organisation in Uttar Pradesh where it has been out of power for the last 30 years and also bring people's issues to focus.
Taking on the Uttar Pradesh government, she said it has been "dictatorial" and the "discussion in elections is skewed".
"Our focus would be to bring issues of people to centre stage," she said.
She also said that parties should not worry about the 'aya ram, gaya ram' politics of leaders frequently switching parties. She, however, lamented that when leaders from the Congress leave, the ideological fight weakens.
Uttar Pradesh is scheduled to have seven-phase polls beginning on February 10 and ending on March 7. Results will be announced on March 10.