Phulpur, Allahabad: Yuvraj Rahul Gandhi has finally taken over the centrestage in Congress’ battle to reinvigorate itself in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the high-voltage Assembly Elections due to be held early next year.
Rahul kickstarted the party’s poll campaign on Monday by addressing a huge rally at Phuplur – the Lok Sabha constituency represented by his great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru.
The selection of Phulpur is symbolic, especially because today is the 122nd birth anniversary of India’s first prime minister.
At the rally venue, the posters and slogans were all about Rahul Gandhi indicating that the party has made up its mind to project him as its face for ‘Mission 2012’.
Addressing the gathering, Rahul said, “Nobody can save Uttar Pradesh until it wakes up by its own. Till then it will be the same government of cast biases….no place for the aam admi in this state today.”
“I get angry when I see the condition of the state, at times I think I should go to Lucknow to fight for you. Till the time mindset doesn’t change, UP can’t change,” he added.
Rahul took on UP Chief Minister Mayawati for questioning the motive behind his frequent visits to Dalit homes. Rahul said, “Till the time a leader doesn’t eat at a poor man’s home and sees his plight on his own, he cannot understand the problem of poverty…till a leader doesn’t drink dirty water from a well, he can’t not understand what poverty is. It is a leader’s duty to be with the people.”
Hitting out at the Mayawati-led government in the state, Rahul said that UP is going backwards while India is progressing, adding that funds being sent by the Centre are being misused by the state government. “The UP government is denying its people the benefits of MNREGA,” he said.
Rahul also pointed out that the Prime Minister had announced a special package for Bundelkhand yet there has been no progress from the state government’s side.
Slamming the government, he said that the state is being ruled by mafia and that there is massive corruption in UP.
Highlighting the party’s resolve to tackle the menace of corruption he said that the party is in favour of a constitutional Lokpal and the bill would be tabled soon, besides making the Food Security Bill a reality.
He said that there can’t be an aam admi government in the state till the day the people chose a development centric government.
Clearly, it is ‘Brand Rahul’ for the party this time around. The party has been out of power in UP for the past 22 years, but had seen reasonably good success in the last Lok Sabha polls when the party won 22 seats. While ‘Jai Ho’ was the party’s mantra for the Lok Sabha polls, it is wooing the electorate in the politically polarised state with the slogan “Utho, Jaago, Badlo” (Rise, Awaken and Change). "Sabki Suraksha, Sabko Nyaya. Gauravgatha ka naya Adhyaya" (Security for all, Justice for all. A fresh chapter in our proud legacy),” is the party’s assurance to the people of UP.
The party has sewn up a plan to carpet bomb the media to start the poll campaign with a bang. A number of print advertisements are being brought out - each will end with the punch line "Jawab Hum Denge" (the Congress will give a befitting reply).
On the electronic media, the ads will highlight the growth and development centric vision of the Gandhi family, right from the times of Nehru to Rahul Gandhi now, and end with the punchline "Utho, Jaago, Badlo".
Almost all top leaders of the party in the state including state party chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Salman Khurshid Digvijay Singh and Pramode Tiwari, the leader of Congress legislative party, were present.