Lucknow: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was cheered by thousands as she rode in an open truck here on Monday along with her brother and Congress President Rahul Gandhi on her first visit to Uttar Pradesh after becoming the Congress General Secretary East UP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Security personnel had a tough time holding back enthusiastic crowds as the convoy, which included other party leaders including state unit President Raj Babbar and General Secretary West Uttar Pradesh Jyotiraditya Scindia, wound its way amid full-throated slogans hailing Priyanka Gandhi and lampooning Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
At one point at Burlington crossing, Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Scindia and the other leaders had to lower their heads and eventually dismount from the truck to escape dangerously low hanging electric wires. They shifted to a car before returning to the truck.
“Aa gayi badlaav ki aandhi, Rahul sung Priyanka Gandhi” (The storm is coming, Rahul along with Priyanka Gandhi), was a favourite slogan among the supporters, many of whom wore caps and T-shirts with Priyanka’s picture embossed on them.
Many hurled flower garlands at Priyanka Gandhi, who, constantly waving at the crowds, occasionally threw back the flowers to the crowds. Hundreds of activists carried the Congress party flags.
The winding route from the Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport to the Congress office at Mall Avenue, almost 25 km long, was replete with hoardings and banners. Posters of Priyanka, a few comparing her with Hindu goddess Durga, were plastered everywhere.
The Congress office had been painted afresh and decorated with hundreds of kilos of marigold and other flowers.
On Monday, Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra, now embroiled in investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, urged people to ensure her safety.
Priyanka Gandhi, who opened her Twitter account on Monday, said a day earlier that she wanted to “build a new future, new politics”.
“I have hope that together we will start a new kind of politics, a politics in which all of you will be stakeholders. Come, let’s build a new future, new politics with me.”