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Priyanka in Cong list of star campaigners for UP

New Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi, being credited by Congress for playing an active role in stitching an alliance with Samajwadi Party, will be her party’s star campaigner along with Rahul Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh.

Her name figures among the 40 star campaigners that the Congress has finalised and forwarded to the Election Commission today for the first phase of Uttar Pradesh polls.

Though she does not hold any political post in the Congress, Priyanka has turned active ever since her brother and party Vice President Rahul assumed a leadership role after her mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi started not keeping well.

Her inclusion in the star campaigners list assumes significance as there have been demands by partymen for her playing a more active role in Uttar Pradesh elections.

Priyanka has confined herself to Rae Bareily and Amethi Lok Sabha constituencies represented by Sonia and Rahul in the past, which fall under the second phase of UP polls.

Sonia and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are also among the star campaigners list for UP.

Besides, AICC general secretary in-charge of UP affairs Ghulam Nabi Azad and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar and former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who was earlier projected as the party’s chief ministerial face in the state but bowed out after a pre-poll alliance with Samajwadi Party, are also in the list.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, former Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, party general secretaries Janardan Dwivedi, Ahmed Patel, Kamal Nath, Mukul Wasnik also figure in the list.

Former chief ministers of Haryana and Rajasthan Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Ashok Gehlot; UP leaders Pramod Tiwari, Pradeep Mathur, Nirmal Khatri and P L Punia; in-charge of communications department Randeep Surjewala; besides Manish Tiwari, who was denied a party ticket in Punjab; and actor Nagma, who unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, are among the star campaigners.

The first phase of the seven-phased UP assembly elections will begin on February 11 and end on March 8, with counting on March 11.

The high-stakes election is an issue of prestige for the BJP, which is putting in all its might to steer victory for itself and is depending on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaigning, while Congress has allied with Samajwadi Party to give a good fight and make the contest triangular among it, BJP and BSP.