Congress prepares for Priyanka’s UP visit

Update: 2019-02-10 00:00 GMT

HighlightAs hectic preparations are underway at the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee UPCC office in the posh Mall Avenue area for Priyanka Gandhi Vadras first visit to the city on Monday after her plunge into active politics, Congress leaders say this time the buzz will not be limited to just cosmetics but will be followed up by serious business ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls

As hectic preparations are underway at the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) office in the posh Mall Avenue area for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's first visit to the city on Monday after her plunge into active politics, Congress leaders say this time the buzz will not be limited to "just cosmetics" but will be followed up by serious business ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

And so other than the fresh paint, the beefed up security, makeover of the party's hitherto deserted office, the posters, banners and hoardings, a close-knit team is doing the spadework for Priyanka after she was assigned with the uphill task of winning back the party's traditional voters and pepping up the morale of the cadres head of the crucial, do-or-die electoral battle for Parliament.

Gandhi, who was appointed Congress General Secretary (UP East), will be accompanied by her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi and General Secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia, who has been assigned the task of handling western UP for the party in the elections. UPCC chief Raj Babbar has held several meetings planning for the high-profile visit, which is likely to begin with a road show from the Charbagh railway station to the party office, weaving its way through important places in the city like Hussainganj, GPO, Raj Bhawan round about and Hazratganj.

The district administration, however, has so far not okayed the route proposed by the state Congress leadership. Senior party leaders, led by Raj Babbar are scheduled to meet the Lucknow District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma to get the necessary clearances. Office bearers and leaders have been asked to ensure crowds and "see to it that the debut visit is a thing to remember" a party leader involved in the preparations told IANS.

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A team of the Special Protection group (SPG) is already camping ahead of the visit and is finalising the security plan, which includes sanitising the area where the Priyanka will move around in the office. A room which will double up as her office has also been readied for Priyanka, who will stay in the city till February 14.

But other than the cosmetics, informed sources say, a close-knit team of state leaders has already been tasked with many assignments, which include detailing of the past Lok Sabha performances of the party, collate data of "winnable seats" and also work on a detailed plan to bring back the "old guard" that has stuck with the party through thick and thin.

"The idea is to strike a chord with the party loyalists, be it workers or office bearers or leaders. The mantra is to work and win" a leader said. Raj Babbar said that the excitement was high among party workers and the workers and her visit will certainly boost the party morale ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

"We certainly are privileged that Priyanka-ji has been assigned to boost party prospects in Uttar Pradesh and we are going to give in our best in this endeavour" the actor-turned-politician said further. Sources said that the basic data of probable candidates based on parameters of winnability, caste matrix and loyalty for the party is ready and would come up for discussion with Priyanka during her four-day stay in the state.

- Mohit Dubey

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