Bus Row: Priyanka Gandhi boosts Congress prospects in UP

Lucknow: The ongoing tussle between the Congress party and the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government over the issue of arranging buses for migrant labourers stranded in Uttar Pradesh  has boosted the sagging morale of the Congress leaders and workers in the state.

Priyanka Gandhi has succeeded in bringing the party to the forefront, taking up space of the main opposition party against the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh. With her offer of organizing 1000 buses to the UP government for migrant workers, Priyanka Gandhi has managed to score over other political parties, including the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

While Priyanka Gandhi appeared to be extremely concerned about the plight of the migrant labourers, and pitched in by arranging 879 buses and other vehicles to transport the workers, former chief ministers — Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati — were seen taking to the microblogging site Twitter to express their views.

The UP government tried to turn the matter in its favour by saying that it’s a matter of debate whether all the buses arranged by Congress were fit or not to take migrant workers, saying that “only 879” out of the 1000 vehicles arranged were buses. However, the “bus row” has made the Congress party and its charismatic leader become the talking point in the country and appreciated widely for her genuine concern.

It’s being said that Priyanka Gandhi has succeeded in sending a message to the UP population and migrant workers that Congress is really bothered about them. While Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati issued press notes and merely tweeted to express their sharply critical views, Priyanka Gandhi has written four letters to the UP Chief Minister with suggestions to deal with the issue of migrant labourers and expressed willingness to join in the relief work. Gandhi also held video conference with her party leaders in the state and directed to start community kitchens at the state level in various districts.

It’s obvious that during the current coronavirus-induced lockdown period, Priyanka Gandhi has activated her party leadership and energized the rank and file to get involved in relief work in UP. As directed by Priyanka Gandhi, UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu not only started camping at the party headquarters, but also monitored the work being done all over the state. Significantly enough, Lallu was arrested by the state government over the bus row for “giving false information” and was sent to jail.

In order to express party’s solidarity with Lallu, Priyanka Gandhi organised massive show with 50,000 party workers coming on Facebook live, where they resolved to fight for the party and leaders– Priyanka and the jailed UPCC chief Ajay Lalloo. These workers who were live on Facebook also paid tribute to Rajiv Gandhi on his death anniversary on May 21.

Although the state elections for UP assembly will be held in 2022, but the recent action of Priyanka Gandhi has galvanised the party leaders and the rank and file. Earlier, Priyanka Gandhi had succeeded in reaching Unnao to take up the issue of the rape and murder of a woman. In Sonbhadra too, Priyanka Gandhi took up the case of women by reaching there and staging a dharna.

Veteran Congress leader Amir Haider said that at a time when no political party was willing to come out its comfort zone, Priyanka Gandhi with her action not boosted the morale of workers but also brought the party centrestage in the national discourse otherwise dominated by the antics of PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and the BJP ministers.

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