“Party leaders and functionaries will spend 75 hours in a village panchayat in each of the 75 districts of the state. They will stay in the village panchayat for a little over three days in the 30,000 identified villages of the state. Through this, the party aims to reach directly to 90 lakh people,” Gurjar, co-incharge of UP at the All India Congress Committee (AICC), said.
He said various programmes will be organised in the villages during the stay of Congress leaders and they will also do ”shramdaan” (voluntary community service) for one hour a day.
On August 20, ‘Sadhbhavna Diwas’ will be celebrated on the birth anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Gurjar said, adding that freedom fighters, their families and senior citizens will be felicitated.
Anil Yadav, organisational secretary of the UP Congress, informed that party leaders and functionaries during their stay in the villages will have ‘snehbhoj’ (feast) with villagers, and in this they will eat food coming from specific houses in the villages, and will not consume any outside food.
Meanwhile, Gurjar, when asked as to who will be the chief ministerial face of the Congress in the UP polls, said, “The Congress has never contested elections by declaring its chief ministerial candidate. Our party workers, and our palm (election symbol) will be the face of the party in the assembly polls.”
“The Congress will contest all the 403 seats of the UP Legislative Assembly. The constituencies in which our candidate is strong, he or she will be given priority. But, the constituencies in which a person who is not in our party today, but believes in the Congress’ principles of ‘sarvadharma sambhaav’ (interfaith equality), and reposes faith in the ideology of the Congress of taking everyone along, we can give them the ‘tiranga’ (party ticket),” he said.
“A number of people who are disgruntled with their parties are in touch with the Congress,” Gurjar added.
Refuting claims of the opposition that Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is a “political tourist” to Uttar Pradesh, he said, “Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is the national general secretary of the Congress, and not the president of the UP unit of the Congress. She is a national leader, and in-charge of UP.”
Referring to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, he said the Congress is the largest opposition party.
“All the parties will come with the Congress who feel that democracy can be saved while adhering to the constitutional means. If there is any political party, which is committed to save the unity and integrity of the country, then it is the Congress, which has freed the country from the British,” Gurjar said.
When asked to comment on the absence of party MP Rahul Gandhi in the recent dinner hosted by party leader Kapil Sibal on August 9, he said, “As of today, Kapil Sibal is in the Congress. If the opposition is turning up at the dinner hosted by a particular political party, then it does not sound alarm bells for us.”
Top leaders of over a dozen parties met in Delhi on August 9 and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the opposition unity and defeat the BJP in the 2022 UP assembly polls and the 2024 general elections, according to sources.
The leaders came together at a dinner hosted by Sibal where almost all the members of the G-23 leaders, who had written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi seeking an organisational overhaul, were also present.
The outreach programme will be attended by senior Congress leaders of Uttar Pradesh and senior office-bearers of the party. Former ministers, former MLAs and MPs will be among those attending it.