Lucknow: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, saying that both are leaders who like comfort and do politics on Twitter while sitting in their homes. Priyanka, who is the Congress face for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, also offered her clarification on the controversy over Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s ‘UP ke bhaiya’ remark.
During the campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, he spoke to News18. He answered in detail questions on key issues ranging from personal attacks on him by political rivals to the Congress party’s prospects in the assembly elections in Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand. You can read the highlights of this exclusive interview of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with News18 below…
In states like Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa, where the Congress is likely to win, AAP is more focused on Uttar Pradesh. Why so?
Why not? After all, I am in charge of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. I have been working here continuously for the last three years. We have talked about the real issues of the people. He has endured many atrocities. The leaders here do not talk about real issues like inflation and crime. Now it is election time, so we are focusing more. But our basis is our issue, the fight of the people. Congress party workers are fighting for the issues of the people by taking to the streets.
People are saying that the contest in UP is bilateral (between BJP and SP). But, are you sure about other states?
We are confident about all the states. But in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa we are more confident. In Punjab (Chief Minister Charanjit Singh) Channi ji has done an unprecedented job. We will form the government in Goa also.
Are you sure about UP too?
See, other political parties have left no stone unturned in keeping the UP elections confined to religion and caste. Polarization can never help people. We are working on our agenda. As far as the UP elections being bilateral is concerned, more clarity will come after the results. But, the truth is that people are slowly getting fed up with this kind of polarizing politics. People understand that this kind of politics will not help them.
You talk about inflation and unemployment in your speeches. Do you think you have created a new narrative for this election?
You can tell better whether we have forced other parties to talk on real issues of the people or not? But, yes, I think gradually other people have also been forced to talk about the issues of youth, unemployed, women and farmers. There should be a debate on empowering people. What is the use of giving them a few kilos of ration? We are talking about women empowerment, employment generation, better education. I have noticed that BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and SP (Samajwadi Party) are also promising two wheelers and smartphones. This is good.
Are you saying that you have prepared the pitch for the election? But the truth is that your party is not being seen in the race, why are you still a target of rival parties? Recently, you were under attack on the issue of ‘UP ke Bhaiya’ (remarks of Punjab CM Channi).
Channi ji was a little more excited and excited. He was talking about Modi ji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and AAP leaders. They attack me personally, because they know that I have been fighting in UP for the last three years. When they have no political attack left, they make personal attacks.
Both PM Modi and CM Yogi Adityanath have attacked you.
Let them do it. I don’t make personal attacks. But, when your (BJP) minister’s son crushed the farmers, is it not an insult to UP? Rape and murder of Dalit girl, is it not an insult to the people of UP? Lathi charge on unemployed youth is an insult to UP.
Is this Uttar Pradesh election a semi-final of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections?
This is the narrative of the media. Every election is important in itself.
Even if you don’t see it as a semi-final of 2024, isn’t this election important for your future plans in UP?
The story of Congress in UP is that after a long time we are contesting on all 403 seats. Now we have a strong organization. In the last three years, about 19,000 of our workers have gone to jail raising public issues. We have raised the issues of the people by forming a strong organization. Our story is a long term story and it will show results in this election as well.
(CM of West Bengal) Mamta Banerjee was recently seeking votes for SP in UP. Efforts are also being made to form a third front in the country, which will also be against the Congress. Is Akhilesh (Yadav) afraid of you?
Akhilesh was nowhere to be seen for years. They have started appearing only a few months before the elections. Politics cannot be done through tweets sitting at home. Mayawati also does the same. This system cannot keep your politics for long…then someone will grow. It could also be Congress.
So are you saying that Akhilesh and Mayawati are doing drawing room politics?
Yes. Where were these two leaders in the last few years? Where were Akhilesh and Mayawati when a Dalit girl was raped and murdered in Hathras or when farmers were crushed under cars?