Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh East Priyanka Gandhi is scheduled to visit Ayodhya on Friday – the last day of her second leg of campaigning in politically-crucial state.
The party has planned a 50-km road show in Faizabad-Ayodhya on Friday, during which she is expected to address two meetings. She will stop at over 30 other points during the road show, interacting with people, according to the schedule worked out so far.
According to reports, the party had initially planned a train journey for Priyanka, from Delhi to Ayodhya and then travelling to Amethi via Sultanpur by road.
However, the plan was later changed. Priyanka first flew to Lucknow on Wednesday from where she took a road trip to Amethi and met party workers in her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency.
On Thursday, she campaigned for her mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in the latter’s parliamentary constituency Rae Bareli.
According to sources quoted by News 18, Priyanka on Friday will also a pay visit to the Hanumangarhi and the Birla Mandir in the temple town, after which she will lead the roadshow from Tedhi Bazaar, through the Ranapoli-Avadhpuri colony, Beniganj, Sahabganj police station, Sahabganj Ram Janki temple -- all the way to Redganj -- where she will address a Nukkad Sabha organised by transwoman Gulshan Bindu, who recently joined the Congress.
Taking a swipe at Priyanka’s scheduled visit to Ayodhya, Union minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani said that the party that refused to believe in the existence of Lord Ram has now turned into an outfit of Ram followers.
"The Congress party which presented documents in the court saying there is no existence of Lord Ram... The leader of that very party Priyanka Gandhi is moving about as a 'Ram bhakt'," she said.
The Union Textiles Minister was apparently referring to the UPA government in 2007 withdrawing from the apex court an affidavit filed by the ASI claiming there was no historical or scientific evidence to establish existence of Lord Ram and Rama Setu as a man-made bridge.
From March 18 to 20, she undertook a 140-km-long boat ride from Prayagraj to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency Varanasi, interacting with people along the way and visiting prominent places of worship.
The Congress won only two seats out of UP's 80 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and now faces both the BJP and the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance.
With Priyanka's entry into active politics and Rahul Gandhi giving her the charge of 42 constituencies in eastern Uttar Pradesh, the Congress hopes to regain its lost ground in the politically crucial state.
However, the BJP believes that Priyanka's presence will not have any impact on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Priyanka on Wednesday said that she will surely contest the Lok Sabha polls if the party wants her to. She, however, said no decision on the same has been taken as of now. Earlier, speculations were rife that Priyanka may contest from Rae Bareli -- the parliamentary constituency of her mother.
However, the rumours were laid to rest after the Congress' first list of candidates featured Sonia Gandhi's name from Rae Bareli.