Lucknow: Within a week of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi flagging off ten "chetna yatras" (awakening marches) to rejuvenate the party in Uttar Pradesh, most leaders have deserted the campaign, while vulgar dances at a rally Monday evening have embarrassed the party.
While party MPs PL Punia, Praveen Singh Aron and Jagdambika Pal, who were leading three of the ten yatras, pulled out and rushed to Delhi following a Congress central leadership order to all party members for their regular attendance in the Lok Sabha, the senior party leaders entrusted with leading the other marches chose to take a break after only first three days.
Rahul Gandhi flagged off the yatras at a rally in Ambedkar Nagar April 14, the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar.
Meanwhile, controversy has erupted after local organisers in Dibai town of Bulandshahr district hired women dancers as a part of an entertainment programme intended to attract bigger crowds. The vulgar gyrations left the chief guests - general secretary Pervez Hashmi and Mathura legislator Pradeep Mathur - embarrassed.
Both Hashmi and Mathur flatly denied having anything to do with the vulgar dances. State Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi too washed her hands of the whole affair.
"Our directive to the district units was pretty simple - they must provide all logistics to organise roadside rallies and were told to keep it a simple affair without any frills," Joshi said.