By Amit Agnihotri
New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Congress’ star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has of late been hopping between Amethi and Rae Bareli, the parliamentary constituencies of party chief Rahul Gandhi and former party president Sonia Gandhi in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh.
In the past, Priyanka had been managing only these two constituencies but has taken up an active party role as AICC general secretary in charge of UP East only this time. Both Amethi and Rae Bareli will go to the polls on May 6.
Since March 18, when she launched her campaign by taking a boat ride from Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) to Varanasi in eastern UP, Priyanka has done road shows and public meetings across the state in Faizabad-Ayodhya, Fatehpur and Barabanki seats besides Kanpur, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Baghpat and Ghaziabad in central and western parts of the state.
In between, she also made it a point to visit Amethi and Rae Bareli areas around half-a-dozen times seeking votes in favour of her brother and mother.
On Wednesday, Priyanka campaigned in various parts Amethi talking to party workers and commoners alike and urged them to vote for Rahul. On Thursday and Friday she will spend time traveling across Rae Bareli seeking support for Sonia Gandhi.
Amethi and Rae Bareli were the only two parliamentary seats the Congress could win of the total 80 in UP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The battle for Amethi has become intense in 2019 as the BJP has again fielded Union minister Smriti Irani against Rahul. In 2014, though Rahul defeated her, Irani was able to secure 3 lakh votes, which, in effect, reduced Rahul’s victory margin significantly from 3.7 lakh in the 2009 polls to over a lakh votes in 2014.
Sources said under Priyanka’s watch they had deployed a special micro-level plan to increase Rahul’s victory margin from the 2014 levels as he is contesting the 2019 polls as party chief and is being projected as the prime ministerial candidate. For that party workers have been administered a pledge to make the victory margin 5 lakh votes but it remains to be seen how the Congress election machinery is able to contain the Irani juggernaut.