After a three-day yatra in 10 districts of Uttar Pradesh completed recently largely in absence of its chief ministerial candidate Sheila Dikshit, Congress is hoping for a miracle to happen after its workers’ meet scheduled on July 29 in Lucknow. The party is making grand preparations for its “UP Udgosh” meet, where Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address over 50,000 workers from all 403 assembly constituencies in the state.
The meet is unique in many ways as it is after over three decades that Congress is targeting such huge gathering in Lucknow on the ground where mainly BSP chief Mayawati has held workers’ meet. Having had some bad experiences in the past, there are certain reservations in the mind of some but party veterans admit that they have not seen such arrangements and cadre mobilisation for any meeting for a long time in the state.
The main dais is being prepared at the height of 10-feet using metal structures in the manner used for big concerts. The main stage would accommodate 120 leaders and another platform in the front would have seven to 10 leaders including the faces that Congress wish to project for its 2017 elections in UP.
Apart from this, the contractors were busy building about 100-feet long platform, on which Rahul Gandhi would walk and answer questions over the workers sitting in front of him.
“This is the biggest ever such political event that anyone would have seen on Lucknow,” claimed a party leader. Sources informed that to be double sure of the presence of such large number of workers, about 9,000 applicants have been asked to mobilise people from every booth of their constituency.
To assure them that good performers are awarded, the party has made preparations to register each and every participant. This registration would begin about three hour before the meet.
Even newly appointed Congress state president Raj Babbar also admitted that such a grand event has not been seen in the past as he visited the spot this Thursday evening along with Congress campaign committee chairman Sanjay Sinh and other leaders. He claimed that the event would mark the launch of Congress campaign in UP.
Amidst all the preparations, Congress is silent on the presence of Priyanka Gandhi in the meet and maintained that it would not be confirmed till the start of the event. Party leaders also maintained that it would be Rahul, who would take the lead in the grand show of strength planned on Friday in Lucknow.
While Congress has already made one attempt to launch a yatra having senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Raj Babbar, Sanjay Sinh as well as Chief Minister candidate Sheila Dikshit but Dikshit had to leave the yatra on the first day as she fell ill. She could join back only at the concluding spot in Kanpur on the last day.
Though AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad claimed that the yatra was a huge success, but the fact remains that considering the stature of leaders that were travelling, it could not draw much attention of the public, even as ticket aspirants ensured grand welcome at many places.
Despite best of attempts, the party was seen confused even regarding foot march of Rahul, which was planned earlier but later cancelled.
While the time would tell the impact of grand preparations by Congress for its meet in Lucknow but the event has at least put a life among the cadre of the party, which has not been in power in the state for past 27 years and is now moving ahead with the slogan of “27 saal UP Behal”.