‘Priyanka Gandhi will be Congress' face in UP elections': Party leader PL Punia

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© Provided by Hindustan Times Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attends a mass gathering to pay respects to people who lost their in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. (AFP)

Congress leader PL Punia on Sunday said that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would be the party’s face in the election campaign for the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh next year. He said that Vadra, the general secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), was the most popular political figure in the state.

Further, he also claimed that a CM candidate not being declared would not affect the party’s chances in the polls as a personality like Vadra would head the charge against the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is currently in power in the state.

“So, the people are impressed by her and currently in the entire state, no politician is more popular than Priyanka Gandhi. As far as around whom the campaign will be centred, we are fortunate that Priyanka Gandhi is available for (campaigning) all the time,” Punia said during an interview with news agency PTI.

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He also ascertained that the election campaign would revolve around her. “People talk about a CM face as votes are sought on that face, for us the biggest face is that of Priyanka Gandhi and the affection that people have for her cannot be matched by any person who is declared a CM face. So for us we have such a personality who will be helpful for us in polls in every way,” he further said.

Describing the polls as a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress, he said that the local parties such as the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have “fallen behind” and “were not in the fight anymore.”

Following the recent violence in Lakhimpur Kheri, where eight people, including four farmers, were killed, Vadra visited the families of the farmers and offered them her condolences. She was detained on her way to the district, a move for which she had heavily criticised the Yogi Adityanath government. Lauding her for this, Punia said that she had fought for truth regarding the Lakhimpur violence and other issues such as the Sonbhadra, Unnao or the Hathras incidents.

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Punia, on October 15, was appointed as the chairman of the Congress party’s election campaign committee in UP, according to an order from the party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi. He would lead a 20-member team that would oversee the party’s campaign for the assembly elections next year.

Meanwhile, the ruling BJP in the state is in the process of preparations for an address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his constituency of Varanasi, with the state unit working on the dates for the rally with the PM’s office (PMO), news agency ANI reported earlier on Saturday. On October 10, Vadra had addressed a huge gathering in the same place.

While the party had maintained that no leader could match Modi’s popularity, it also conceded that the significant crowd in Vadra’s rally has concerned some leaders, ANI reported quoting a senior BJP leader.

(With agency inputs)

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