Congress president Sonia Gandhi starts her campaign for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections with a road show today in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency.
The show of strength will include 10,000 bikers leading Gandhi’s cavalcade into town. Flanked by senior leaders of her party, Gandhi will set off on a 6.4 km road show through the city post-lunch in an open mini truck and will address a rally at the end of it.
The Congress’s new UP chief Raj Babbar and its chief ministerial candidate for the state Sheila Dikshit will accompany Mrs Gandhi as will Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Congress leader in charge of UP.
Azad is also the Congress’ leader in the Rajya Sabha and his party cited his absence from Parliament today as the reason it wanted the presentation of the landmark Goods and Services Tax bill in the Upper House to be delayed by a day. The GST bill has been listed for tomorrow, after protracted negotiations have led to consensus between the BJP-led government and the Congress.
In Varanasi today, there will be little agreement on display, with Gandhi expected to launch a blistering attack on PM Modi and the BJP in her Dard-e-Banaras (The pain of Varanasi) rally, which the Congress says highlights a lack of development in the VIP constituency.