With the first three phases of seven-phased Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections over and campaigning having ended for the fourth phase also, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will finally hit the ground for electioneering in Amethi and Prayagraj during the fifth phase of elections in the electorally crucial state. Party sources said the Wayanad MP will paign in Amethi and Prayagraj on February 25. The two districts will go to the polls in the fifth phase on February 27. The Wayanad MP, who has campaigned aggressively in Goa, Uttarakhand, Punjab and now Manipur for the ensuing assembly election, has not so far addressed a single rally or road-show in electorally crucial Uttar Pradesh since the polls were announced in early January.
Leaving aside Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi has held nearly 30 campaign programmes in the remaining four states.
As a lead campaigner of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi’s absence from the active campaign in Uttar Pradesh so far has come as a surprise to party workers. He had extensively campaigned in the state in the last three Assembly elections from 2007 to 2017. Party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been on a campaign trail in Uttar Pradesh along with other senior leaders including Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, party MP Deepender Singh Hooda, former union minister Salman Khurshid and party leader Imran Pratapgarhi.
Rae Bareli, considered Gandhi family bastion, will go to the polls in the fourth phase of the elections on February 23. In an effort to reach out to voters, Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressed a virtual rally on Monday. Rahul Gandhi had won the Amethi Lok Sabha seat from 2004 to 2014. He lost the 2019 elections from the seat. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi were last seen in Amethi and Rae Bareli on December 18 last year when they addressed corner meetings and held a roadshow in these districts. Rahul Gandhi had addressed a press conference with Priyanka Gandhi in Delhi to release the party’s youth manifesto for Uttar Pradesh.
With the fourth phase of polling on Wednesday, polling would be completed in nearly 58 per cent of the seats in the state. Both BJP and Samajwadi Party are exuding confidence of forming the government in the state. Congress is betting on issue-based election campaigning which is led by Priyanka Gandhi. The fourth phase of elections tomorrow will decide the fate of 624 candidates in 59 Assembly segments in Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Kheri, Sitapur, Hardoi, Unnao, Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Banda and Fatehpur districts. The voting for the remaining phases will be held on February 27, March 3 and March 7. The counting of votes will be done on March 10.