Rahul Gandhi plans Hindu card, rally blitz with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to counter BJP in Uttar Pradesh

With barely months to go for the national elections, the Congress party is aiming to shed its anti-Hindu image. 

NEW DELHI: Two days after sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's official plunge into active politics, Congress President Rahul Gandhi is all set to play the Hindu card to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Congress president will address 12 rallies in Uttar Pradesh and Priyanka is expected to accompany her brother on stage in most of these rallies. Party sources further revealed that Priyanka's campaigning will be UP-centric with her operation base in Lucknow.

Rahul, the younger Gandhi sibling, will take a holy dip in the ongoing Kumbh Mela in February, party sources told Zee News. For the first time, public will witness Rahul wearing janeu – the sacred thread traditionally worn by Brahmans, and don a yellow dhoti and yellow gamcha (thin cotton towel) during the holy bath in the Ganges.

Rahul will be accompanied by 12 pandits who will read out shlokas while he takes the holy dip, which is expected to be witnessed by lakhs of devotees.

Senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewal first spoke about Rahul's Brahmanical roots during the Gujarat Assembly elections in 2017. 

Later, ahead of Rajasthan Assembly elections in 2018, Rahul had revealed his caste and gotra while offering prayers at the Brahma temple in Pushkar. When asked by the head priest of the temple, the Congress chief said that his gotra is Dattatreya and that he is a Kaul Brahmin. He also referred to documents consisting of all information his ancestors and members of the Gandhi family.

With barely three months to go for the national elections, the Congress party is aiming to shed its anti-Hindu image and win the confidence of UP voters. 

In a major development, Priyanka was appointed as the general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East on Monday. Rahul later said he gave his sister the responsibility with the target of ensuring that the party forms the next government in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress will fight the coming Lok Sabha polls with 'full strength', said Rahul at a public meeting in Amethi on Thursday.

"Priyanka and (Jyotiraditya) Scindia have been given a target. That is to form a Congress government in Uttar Pradesh in the next election by defeating and wiping out the BJP," the Congress president said.

“Unlike PM Modi, I do not talk of a 'BJP-mukt Bharat' but speak with respect," Gandhi said, referring to Narendra Modi's call to 'free' India of the Congress. “In the Lok Sabha polls, we will contest with full strength, without taking a backward step."

In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi contested and won from Varanasi constituency while Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's bastion is Gorakhpur – both in eastern UP.

Political analysts are now comparing Priyanka's role to Modi's appointment of Amit Shah as the chief party election observer in UP in Lok Sabha elections 2014.