Taking umbrage at BJP’s challenge for Priyanka Gandhi to contest the Uttar Pradesh election, Congress contended that the JP Nadda-led party was trying to deflect attention from real issues. On Sunday, UP BJP had tweeted,
“Our Chief Minister Shri Yogi Adityanath is contesting from Gorakhpur. Bua (Mayawati), Babua (Akhilesh Yadav) and Mrs. Vadra Ji should tell the public from which seat you are contesting or will not contest for fear of defeat?”
Indicating that Priyanka Gandhi may not fight the polls, Congress leader Rashid Alvi opined that she is a “national leader”.
Former parliamentarian Rashid Alvi remarked, “BJP wants to run away from issues. Regarding their challenge, I want to tell BJP leaders that the challenge is between equals.
If Yogi Adityanath is fighting the election, the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief is also contesting the polls. Priyanka Gandhi is not a leader of Uttar Pradesh alone. She is a national leader. It is true that she is in charge of UP. If you want to challenge someone, challenge UP Congress leaders.”
On January 15, BJP’s Central Election Committee approved Yogi Adityanath’s candidature from Gorakhpur Urban, a seat which the party hasn’t lost since 1989. This marks a significant moment in UP politics as every CM since 2012, whether it is Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, or Adityanath, opted to get elected from the Legislative Council instead of contesting the Assembly polls.
While BSP has ruled out the possibility of Mayawati contesting the Assembly polls, the SP chief has expressed willingness to fight from any seat as per the party directive.
हमारे मुख्यमंत्री श्री @myogiadityanath गोरखपुर से चुनाव लड़ रहे हैं।
— BJP Uttar Pradesh (@BJP4UP) January 16, 2022
Congress’ thrust on Uttar Pradesh election
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra faces an uphill task of reviving the party in UP, where it won only 7 seats in the 2017 Assembly polls. This time, the party has decided to go solo in the polls. Some of the party’s other promises are the allocation of 40% of election tickets to women, the procurement of wheat and paddy at Rs 2500 per quintal and procurement of sugarcane at Rs 400 per quintal.
Congress has also promised three free gas cylinders per year, free travel for women in government buses and an honorarium of Rs 10,000 per month for ASHA, Anganwadi workers.
Some of the prominent candidates in Congress’ first list of 125 candidates for the UP elections include Legislative Party leader Aradhana Misra-Mona, Congress media panellist Pankhuri Pathak, actor Archana Gautam, ex-Bareilly Mayor Supriya Aron and Mahila Congress general secretary Shamina Shafiq.
ASHA worker Poonam Pandey who was allegedly beaten by the police while agitating for a raise in honorarium, the mother of the Unnao rape victim and activist Sadaf Jafar who was arrested during the anti-CAA protests were also given poll tickets. The UP election will be held in 7 phases with the counting of votes on March 10.