Can Priyanka revive Congress fortunes in UP’s Terai region?

After meeting the families of the victims of violence in Lakhimpur Kheri, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday headed to Nanpara in Bahraich district to meet the families of some more victims.

The Congress general secretary is trying to revive the fortunes of the party in the region which had blessed it in a big way in the 2009 general elections when 24 Congress MPs entered Parliament from the state.

The Congress had won Kheri, Dharaura, Bareily, Bahraich, Gonda, Shravasti, Dumariaganj and Kushinagar. All the seats fall adjacent to the place of the incident that took place on Sunday. The first profession is agriculture of all those living at the Indo-Nepal border.

While in 2009 the reason for Congress victory was farm loan waiver and MNREGA, this time it’s again the issue of farmers which the Congress is raking up. Since 2014 the Terai region has become a bastion of the BJP which swept the entire region in three consecutive elections except Sharawasti where the BSP won in the 2019 elections. The Congress knows that the region has some potential for the party.

After the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, Priyanka Gandhi has taken the centrestage and on Thursday ahead of her departure for Bahraich, she said that Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son is among those booked, should resign to ensure an impartial probe.

“In my view and that of the victims’ families as well, the case should be probed by a sitting Supreme Court or high court judge, and not by a retired judge,” she said.

She will address first Congress rally in Varanasi on October 10 in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency. The Congress workers have been preparing for it to make it a grand success. The Congress which is trying to put itself as serious contender in the state has started shortlisting candidates and may go for announcement of the first list soon.

Meanwhile, the Congress has stepped up pressure in the state with state President Ajay Kumar Lallu leading a delegation to the governor but wasn’t allowed to meet her and the Congress leaders resorted to sloganeering.