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Priyanka, Rahul intensify poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh

January 16, 2012 18:54 IST

Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra, the Congress' star campaigners, have intensified their public contact programmes in different parts of Uttar Pradesh as the election dates draw near in the politically crucial state.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi's tour programmes are yet to be finalised but a senior leader in the party said both leaders will be addressing at least one election rally in each of the seven phases starting from March 3.

While Priyanka on Monday reached Fursatganj on a three-day tour of Chattrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar and Rae Bareli, Rahul will begin his tour of Bundelkhand region from Tuesday. The All India Congress Committee general secretary will also address a tribal rally in Sonebhdadra this week.

Priyanka's three-day tour will be confined only to the assembly segments falling in the Parliamentary constituencies of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi --- Raebareli and Amethi -- for the time being.

There are 10 assembly constituencies in Raebareli and Amethi of which seven are represented by Congress. Priyanka Gandhi will again coming on Amethi tour from February 2.

Party sources say while Rahul is on a whirl wind tour of the state spelling out party's policy and programmes to electorates, Priyanka's current tour is more related to rejuvenating the party workers and taking stock. Her public campaigns will start a few days later.

Rahul's campaign this week focuses on Bundelkhand which has a sizable tribal population, for which the central government had announced a development package at his initiative last year.

He would start his campaign from Lalitpur tomorrow and then travel to and other districts before addressing a public meeting in Duddhi,Sonbhadra district, on January 21.

Rahul will on Tuesday have one meeting in Lalipur and three in Jhansi, which is represented in Parliament by Union Minister Pradip Jain Aditya (Congress).

On Wednesday, he will have assembly meetings in three villages of Jalaun district, while one village in Hamirpur and Mahoba district (all three districts in Bundelkhand). The Congress general secretary has already addressed a number of election rallies during his five-day tour in Gorakhpur, Deoria, Ballia, Mau and Azamgarh districts.

Earlier, Rahul had extensively covered central, eastern and western districts of Uttar Pradesh and addressed meetings to woo voters for party candidates. One of the key rallies, Rahul addressed in last week of December last year in Saharanpur, where a formidable face of Samajwadi Party Rashid Masood joined Congress.

Congress is contesting on all seven seats despite an alliance with Ajit Singh's RLD, which is supposed to considerable clout in the Jaat heartland of western UP.

So far, Rahul has covered about 78 Assembly segments of the state. The party is also releasing 'Vision 2020' documents for Uttar Pradesh. The booklets to be issued from 10 places in the state simultaneously this week, will unveil party's future programmes for the "turn around" of the Mayawati-ruled state, a senior leader speaking on the condition of anonymity said.

The leader said the release of the document is expected to help the party in making development the key issue during polls in Uttar Pradesh as it feels Congress will be more comfortable on this poll plank in comparison to Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.

The party is also giving special attention to 89 constituencies from where the Scheduled Caste candidates are contesting as it hopes to benefit from Rahul Gandhi's visit to Dalit homes across the state in last few years.

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