By Rajat Rai, IANS,
Rae Bareli (Uttar Pradesh) : While her comments on cousin Varun Gandhi attracted all the media hype, a young man’s pointed query to Priyanka Gandhi asking her for a reason why people should vote for the Congress caused a flurry among party workers here Monday.
At Priyanka Gandhi’s closed door meeting with party workers in Bachrawan, a local youth, Manish, interrupted the proceedings to ask Priyanka to tell the people of Rae Bareli, her mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s constituency, a reason to vote for the Congress.
“I am doing a petty job in Mumbai and despite your (Congress) promises, we do not see any professional future for our youth in the district. We do not have proper roads, and job opportunities and we vote for you only to follow the tradition of voting for the Gandhi family,” Manish said on the loudspeaker, as told by those participating in the meeting.
Although those at the meeting tried to pacify him, Priyanka assured Manish by saying: “If I promise you a job will you stay back (in Rae Bareli)?. Meet me after the meeting and I assure you help.”
However, Manish was untraceable by the media after the meeting as he was cordoned off by party workers. Manish, a Congress supporter, had accompanied a party worker to the meeting.
Priyanka Monday began her two-day visit to Rae Bareli with the family’s tradition of visiting an ancient temple – before entering her mother’s constituency.
Priyanka, who landed in Lucknow at around 10.30 a.m., on way to Bachrawan to attend a closed-door meeting with party workers, took a halt at the Churwa Hanumanji Temple on the Lucknow-Rae Bareli border – a tradition followed by her mother, brother and her other ancestors like Feroz Gandhi and Indira Gandhi.
“All the members of the Gandhi family make it a point to visit this temple and offer a puja before entering Rae Bareli. And like her brother and mother, Priyanka also makes it a point to carry on the family tradition,” said Ganga Sagar, an elderly resident of Churwa village.
Later, she attended the meeting with party workers in Bachrawan Tehsil. Those who attended the meeting were surprised by her “directions” to them.
“Rahul Gandhi early last year had appointed a party worker for every 50 families in all the villages of Rae Bareli and Amethi, and we were given the task of mobilizing them to come to the polling booth on the day of voting. Today, Priyanka-ji also stressed on the same point,” said Pawan Singh Patel, a party worker of Harchandpur block.
Priyanka also said that the workers should realize their responsibilities and work on increasing the winning margin of the party, he added.
After the meeting, Priyanka while interacting with journalists commented on her cousin Varun Gandhi’s alleged hate speeches made during a rally in Pilibhit earlier this month.
“Varun’s comments are against the traditions and principles of the (Gandhi) family and he has gone against what the Gandhis have lived and died for… It made me very sad to see him saying those things on TV… What can I say?,” Priyanka told reporters.
“I would advise him to read the Gita properly and try to understand it,” said Priyanka.
Priyanka, a mother of two, also insisted that she had no political plans as yet.
“I am here only to campaign for my mother and my brother and have no plans to contest elections.”
Asked if she had plans to campaign in other states as well, she said: “No plans as yet. I only come to this place for my mother and brother.”
She also rubbished claims made by Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) that the central government has neglected the state in terms of developmental activities.
“The state has developed a lot and one should go around the state to have a first hand experience of the developmental activities that have taken place.”
Priyanka attended the last meeting of the day in Pandey Kothi of Rae Bareli in the evening. She is staying overnight at the Munshiganj guest house to continue her campaign Tuesday.