NEW DELHI: On Saturday, amid confusion over Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi's programme to tour eastern hotbed of Uttar Pradesh, the main opposition party clarified that it has not been cancelled but some modifications have been made. Issuing a statement, the party said that Priyanka Gandhi's UP tour programme has not been cancelled. As per the security protocol, the programme is being tweaked, the party said.
The Congress party said ''This is due to Priyanka's programme schedule was leaked minute to minute,''. It was earlier reported that Priyanka Gandhi will kick-off Congress' Lok Sabha campaign from the political hotbed of eastern Uttar Pradesh - Prayagraj and Varanasi. The Congress party had reportedly planned a boat ride for Priyanka from Allahabad to Varanasi as a unique initiative to establish a direct contact with people.
However, Priyanka Gandhi was earlier scheduled to arrive in Lucknow on Friday but she is now expected to launch her campaign from March 18, a senior Congress leader had said. UPCC president Raj Babbar had said on Wednesday that Priyanka would be arriving in Lucknow on Friday but hours later he had informed that the programme was postponed. The party had even written a letter to the Election Commission seeking its permission for Priyanka's boat ride programme from Prayagraj to Varanasi beginning March 18 to March 20.
It is to be noted that in the letter, the party said that Priyanka will use a motorboat, taking the river route to cover the distance of around 100 kms, and various events to welcome her have been scheduled all along, for which permission was required in accordance with the Model Code of Conduct. Priyanka, 47, who was recently appointed Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern UP, is expected to cover a distance of about 110 to 112 km touching Prayagraj, Bhadohi, Mirzapur and Varanasi.
However, she is expected to arrive in Prayagraj on March 18 and later visit the historic Anand Bhawan, the erstwhile official residence of the Nehru family, now dedicated as a museum housing the personal belongings of Jawaharlal Nehru and his father Motilal Nehru. Congress circles say that Priyanka may offer prayers at Maa Vindhayavasini temple in Mirzapur and Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.