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Sonia to visit Badrinath, Kedarnath before Uttaranchal campaign

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | April 23, 2004 23:54 IST

Weather permitting, Congress party president Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Vadra would like to seek the blessings of the gods at Badrinath and Kedarnath before embarking upon their campaign tour of Uttaranchal, which goes to polls on May 10 in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

"We have not yet finalised the dates of their visit but it would be some time next week," Major Dalvinder Singh, who has been put in charge of the VVIP campaign visits to various parts of the India, told rediff.com.

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The upper reaches of Badrinath and Kedarnath experienced heavy snowfall on Thursday night. Fresh snowfall on Friday put a question mark on the timing of the visit by Gandhi and her daughter to the two holy shrines.

The visit is apparently meant to counter the attacks by the Bharatiya Janata Party on Gandhi's foreign origins.

A team of the Special Protection Group has already visited the area and carried out extensive surveys from the security point of view. As of now, the plan is for the mother-daughter duo to land in Joshimath on April 26 and proceed to Kedarnath and Badrinath.

They will then launch the party's campaign in Uttaranchal, which has five Lok Sabha seats: Nainital, Dehradun, Almora, Tehri Garhwal and Haridwar.

The Congress president's son Rahul Gandhi would spend Saturday campaigning for the party's candidates in eastern Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls on April 26.

"We are encouraged by the kind of response he got in Benaras on Friday during his road show. We hope for a similar response in other parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh," a senior party leader told rediff.com.

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