Congress' eastern Uttar Pradesh general secretary Priyanka Gandhi marked her political debut ahead of the Lok Sabha polls as she arrived at the Lucknow airport on Monday afternoon to take part in a mega roadshow by the party.
Priyanka received a rousing welcome by party leaders and workers at the airport as many senior leaders of the party including RPN Singh and Rajeev Shukla were present to receive her and in-charge of the western region, Jyotiraditya Scindia. Congress president RahulGandhialso accompanied his sister, as a beaming Priyanka waved at partymen jostling for a glimpse of her.
The trio embarked on a 25-km-long roadshow to the Congress party office at Nehru Bhawan, riding on a white bus, through the busy streets of the state capital. Priyanka's procession is expected to pass through major thoroughfares of the city. She will reportedly stop in between, to get down and garland the statutes of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and BR Ambedkar.
Loud cheers greeted Priyanka as hundreds of Congress supporters thronged the streets to welcome the leaders. The supporters lined themselves on either side of the road in a show of support for the Congress leaders. Apart from Priyanka, Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar was also present at the event.
A group of 500 odd party workers, called the 'Priyanka Sena' wore a pink uniform that had her photo and a message. The group is not new, reportedly, but has a "dress code" for the first time so the new Congress general secretary feels she has a "disciplined force" behind her. "Our message is that Priyanka Gandhi represents women across India and that crimes against women should stop," a worker was quoted as saying in this report. "Priyanka Gandhi represents the women of the country," said another member of the Sena.
The pink t-shirts read, "Desh ke samman mein, Priyanka ji maidan mein, maan bhi deinge, samman bhi deinge, waqt padega toh jaan bhi deinge (For the honour of the nation, Priyanka ji marches on, she has our respect, and even our lives as a pledge if times demand)."
Priyanka and Scindia would stay in Uttar Pradesh till 14 February, while Rahul is expected to return on Monday. This is Priyanka's first visit to the state after being appointed as the general secretary.
Meanwhile, Priyanka's husband Robert Vadra extended his best wishes to her for joining politics amid a "vindictive, vicious political atmosphere". In a Facebook note, Vadra wrote: "You have been my best friend a perfect wife and the best mother to our Children. I know, it’s her duty to serve the people and now we hand her to the people of India. Please keep her safe." Vadra is currently facing an ED probe over alleged money laundering and would be in Jaipur on Monday for the same.
Priyanka sent out a message for her supporters on Sunday in an audio clip on the Congress' Shakti App. She said: “I am coming tomorrow to Lucknow to meet all of you. I have hope in my heart that together we will start a new kind of politics, a politics in which all of you will be stakeholders.”
“My young friends, my sisters and even the weakest person, all their voices will be heard. Come, let’s build a new future, new politics with me. Thank you,” she said.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 11, 2019 15:34:55 IST