Congress announces first list for UP assembly polls
Lucknow/UNI: The mother of the Unnao rape victim, tribal activist from Sonbhadra Ram Raj Gond, Asha workers and grassroot activists feature in the first list of 125 candidates the Congress on Thursday announced for the Uttar Pradesh elections.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi released the list through a video conference.
"Our candidate from Unnao is Asha Singh, the mother of the Unnao rape victim. The government that suppressed them, her husband was murdered, her brother-in-law is still in jail, the victim herself was involved in an accident... She should take power in her own hands and fight the elections," Priyanka Gandhi said.
"Our list is giving a new message. It says if there has been an atrocity against you, fight for your rights. The Congress will enable you, help you in every way," she said.
"Join politics and raise your issues yourself," she said.
The list of candidates also includes actor Sadaf Zafar, who was detained during the anti-CAA protests in Lucknow in 2019, Ramraj Gond, who spearheaded the Gond tribals’ legal battle over land in Umbha village in Sonbhadra, and Poonam Pandey, an Asha worker who was allegedly roughed up by the police while trying to meet Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Shahjahanpur in November.
"The role we see for ourselves in Uttar Pradesh is two pronged. We are fighting where we have not been in power for 30 years. There was no organisation on the ground. We will fight with all our might and win as many seats as possible," Priyanka Gandhi said.
She said the government in Uttar Pradesh is dictatorial and will be replaced after the elections.
"We must replace the government in UP with a functioning strong government which has the will of the people as a focus. Today the government of UP is dictatorial," she said.
Asked if the Congress may consider a post-poll alliance with other opposition parties to keep the BJP out of power, she said: "Of course, why not."
Priyanka Gandhi stressed that the Congress was trying to turn around the nature of political campaigning in the state to raise people's and development issues.
"The real aim of politics is to serve the people. It is true that this has changed to a great extent, but we want to revive it. We want to bring forward a new form of politics," she said.
"Somebody has to start talking about the right things. We have to stir the politics of not just Uttar Pradesh but the country in a more positive direction, We have to be talking about issues of development, health, education.
"Look at our health expenditure, in times of Corona, what are we doing to provide a stronger foundation for education, why is our unemployment rate so high?" she said.
"It is much easier to mobilise people on hate and negativity, it is much much tougher to mobilise people on a positive agenda. If we take a beating for starting but we keep carrying on, and we continue to work hard on it, I'm sure it will have an effect. Young people are looking for politics that answers their questions," she added.
The elections in Uttar Pradesh will take place in seven phases.