Mirzapur, March 19 (IANS) Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday said that people compared her looks with her grandmother Indira Gandhi as they still remember the late Prime Minister with respect for the work she had done for them.
She also countered the Bharatiya Janata Party’s allegations about elections as a picnic for the Gandhi family, saying that she has not been to Italy in last three to four years.
Reaching the Chunar ghat in the evening, she paid tribute to Nishad community leader Raj Nishad at the river bank.
Also holding a small road show for the party’s Mirzapur candidate Lalitesh Pati Tripathi, the great-grandson of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Union Minister Kamalapati Tripathi, Gandhi also hugged and interacted with several women party workers at the Chunar ghat before ending her second day’s programme.
Earlier in the day, addressing a large gathering waiting for her since afternoon at the Sindaura ghat, she said, “Many people say that I look like my grandmother. You compare us because you have a lot of love and respect for her because she had done a lot of work for you all.”
She also hit out at the Narendra Modi government for not fulfilling the promises it made to the people.
During her river journey from Bhatoli ghat to Sindaura, Gandhi even switched to a smaller boat so that she could interact with the people residing near the Ganga’s banks.
As the sun was setting, the people switched on the flashlight of their mobile phones and she went to meet them by taking her motorboat near the banks.
The Congress leader, who also visited the Vindhyavasini Devi Temple, eight kilometres from here, earlier faced pro-Modi slogans from BJP supporters gathered outside as she reached there.
As Gandhi, who was clad in a red sari, got out of her car, hundreds of BJP workers started shouting the slogans and continued even as she entered the temple. Most of the people in the crowd were regular worshippers, who were stopped from entering the temple due to her visit.
Even shops and other establishments near the temple had to down their shutters.
Gandhi, who spent some 20 minutes praying at the temple, however, remained unperturbed.
As the sloganeering continued, she drove off to offer a chadar at the Kantit Sharief dargah near by where there was a huge crowd outside waiting to meet her. Most had arrived at 7 a.m., they claimed.
Meeting media in Bhadohi, Gandhi asked what the Modi government had done in the last five years.
“Be it farmers, youth or anybody, no one is satisfied with the government. Together they will change the government this year,” she said.
Asked to comment on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s claim that since the Congress was to blame for the state’s backwardness since it had ruled the state the most after Independence, she hit back, saying “this ‘what they did in last 70 years’ has an expiry date.”
“Now the BJP should tell the people what it did in the last five years. Shiksha mitras and Anganwadi workers did not get anything. The BJP had announced Rs 17,000 per month for them.
“It is good to produce report cards but what has actually happened? There is nothing on the ground. I am meeting people daily, they are distressed,” Gandhi said.
The younger sibling of party chief Rahul Gandhi is on a three-day boat ride on the Ganga as part of the Lok Sabha election campaign that will end on Wednesday in Varanasi, Modi’s parliamentary constituency.
Having set out from Prayagraj on Monday in a specially-built vessel with supporters, Priyanka Gandhi, who is the party’s in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, began the day after offering prayers at the Sita Samahit Sthal temple in Sitamarhi.
She also held a meeting with party workers and leaders at the Sitamarhi guest house, where she had halted for the night on Monday. She also met several other delegations including that of the weaver community, Shiksha Mitra, and Anganwadi workers in the area.
Shivam Dubey, a party leader who attended the meeting, told IANS: “We will work hard to ensure that the Congress is strengthened and wins with a huge majority.”
She will again commence her river ride on Wednesday from Chunar ghat and arrive in Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi.