Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday addressed a rally in Gorakhpur, the home district of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. While addressing a 'Pratigya Rally' of the party in Gorakhpur, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for alleging that the grand old party was colluding with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She said she would rather die, but have any kind of tie-up with the saffron camp.
"Today (SP & BSP) they say that the Congress has joined hands with the BJP. I want to ask them where were they when people were struggling. In times of crisis, only the Congress fights. And today, from this dais, I am saying that I will die, but will never join hands with the BJP," she said.
Targeting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in his bastion, she alleged that his government has been working against the teachings of Saint Gorakhnath, and made a flurry of poll promises, including farm loan waiver and purchasing wheat and paddy at Rs 2,500 per quintal from farmers, to woo voters.
Urging the people to bring a change, she said it is time they question their faith in leaders who have ''played with their feelings in the name of religion and caste''.
"You take any section of society be it Dalits, weavers or Brahmins, everybody has been exploited. The administration of Yogi Adityanath ji is working completely against the 'vichaar' (teachings) of Guru Gorakhnath," she said at a rally, taking a swipe at the BJP leader who is also the head of the prominent Mutt here dedicated to patron saint Gorakhnath.
Recalling the words of former prime minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary, she said no one is above the country and like her grandmother she will never break the people's faith in her.
"Indira Gandhi showed that no one is above the country. She sacrificed her life for the faith which you had reposed in her, and she did not move a step back,” Priyanka Gandhi said, striking an emotional chord.
Criticising the central government on the issue of privatisation, she alleged that the roads, airports and railways made under the Congress rule were being sold.
"They ask what has been done in 70 years, I say that the hardwork of 70 years has been done away within seven years," she said.
The Congress general secretary also reached out to farmers and members of the fishing community.
"If the Congress is voted to power, then fisheries will be given the status of agriculture, and it will get all the facilities like agriculture.
"The rights of people of the Nishad community will be restored in sand mining and fisheries. Apart from this, a university named after Guru Machendranath will also be set up," she said.
"The entire loans of the farmers will be waived. Wheat and paddy will be purchased at Rs 2,500 per quintal, while sugarcane will be purchased at Rs 400 per quintal. The problem of stray cattle will be resolved on the lines of Chhattisgarh, and a complete solution will be evolved," she said.
The central government had recently fixed the minimum support price for wheat at Rs 2,015 per quintal, while the MSP of paddy (common) was Rs 1,940 per quintal.
The Congress general secretary added that government jobs will be given to 20 lakh youths, while contractual workers will be regularised.
The Anganwadi workers will get an honorarium of Rs 10,000, and women will get three free cylinders in a year, she promised.
"Apart from this, if voted to power, our government will bear the cost of treatment of any illness up to Rs 10 lakh," she said.
She also said that Rs 25,000 will be given to families who have lost their livelihood due to COVID-19.
She reiterated that the party will give 40 per cent tickets to women for the UP Assembly elections.
The girls who passed class 12th will get a smartphone, while the girls who have cleared undergraduate courses will get a scooty, Priyanka Gandhi said, adding that when ''you travel in government buses, it will be free of cost".
Hitting out at Chief Minister Adityanath, who has been a five-time MP from Gorakhpur, the Congress general secretary said that the health scenario in the district is dismal.
"As elections are approaching, we are hearing that AIIMS will be made functional. But nothing happened for five years. So how do you expect that it will be done now?" she said.
Congress leader and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel also lashed out at CM Adityanath.
"This is the land of Lord Budhha, the land of Kabir. Here emotion, love, compassion and brotherhood is present. The Nath sect (to which Yogi Adityanath belongs) has the tradition of embracing the deprived sections of the society, poor, farmers and the labourers.
"But, Yogi Adityanath ji, what happened to you? You are running bulldozers on the houses of the poor. Are you Yogi Adityanath or Bulldozer Nath?" he said.
The Congress is facing a Herculean task to improve the party's tally in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, where it had won only seven seats out of 403 in the last assembly election.
Earlier this month, the Congress general secretary held a rally in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.
''Time has come to question the faith which we have reposed in our leaders, who made so many promises but have not fulfilled even one.
"Time has come for a change in the state. If you do not become aware and do not raise questions, then UP will not be able to come out of this 'khaai' (ravine). The truth is that they have played with your feelings in the name of religion and caste. For a leader, the biggest religion is that of 'sewa' (service)," Priyanka Gandhi said on Sunday.
(with PTI inputs)
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