SEEK­ING VOTES FOR CONG So­nia’s Let­ter Silent on SP, Crit­i­cises Cen­tre

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

Our Politi­cial Bureau

New Delhi: Congress pres­i­dent So­nia Gandhi has ap­pealed in a let­ter to vot­ers of Ut­tar Pradesh to choose her party can­di­dates. The let­ter re­leased on the eve of the fourth and fifth phase of polls that cover as­sem­bly seg­ments un­der the Rae Bareli and Ame­thi Lok Sabha con­stituen­cies, how­ever, made no men­tion of Congress ally, the Sa­ma­jwadi Party, or the per­for­mance of the Akhilesh Ya­dav regime. Ex­pect­edly, Gandhi’s let­ter con­tained a frontal at­tack on the BJP regime at the Cen­tre.

Party in­sid­ers said that the omis­sion of SP in Gandhi’s let­ter may have been due to the awk­ward sit­u­a­tion of both Congress and SP can­di­dates con­test­ing some as­sem­bly con­stituen­cies in Rae Bareli and Ame­thi. How­ever, the omis­sion has be­come a po­lit­i­cal talk­ing point given the larger con­text of the let­ter clearly re­fer­ring to elec­tions to the state as a whole.

Gandhi has not cam­paigned in the on­go­ing UP elec­tions till now. Th­ese polls will be the first in­stance of her not cam­paign­ing in her 18-year tenureasCon­gresspres­i­den­tif she­does not do so in the re­main­ing fort­night. While some at­tribute it to health is­sues, party in­sid­ers feel this was part of a hand­ing over or­ga­ni­za­tional, par­lia­men­tary and cam­paign re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to vice-pres­i­dent RahulGandhi.Thelet­ter­merely­said that she was un­able to cam­paign this time “for some rea­sons.”

Pour­ing her fam­ily’s af­fec­tion for the peo­ple of Rae Bareli and the Gandhi fam­ily’s grat­i­tude for the sup­port the elec­torate had given it, Gandhi urged vot­ers to strengthen the ‘Hand’ of Congress by en­sur­ing max­i­mum vic­tory of Congress can­di­dates.

Tar­get­ing the Naren­dra Modi regime, she al­leged that the Cen­tre had “pun­ishedand­be­trayedthep­eo­pleof Rae Bareli and Ame­thi” by “tak­ing away their wel­fare pro­grammes”.

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