UP polls: Rahul to kickstart campaign tomorrow

Phulpur: Rahul Gandhi will kickstart on Monday the Congress campaign in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, the run up to which is expected to witness a growing confrontation with BSP supremo and Chief Minister Mayawati.

With the party is accusing Mayawati of the "misgovernance," Gandhi, who will be the face of the party in the state, is expected to call for a vote for change in line with the Congress punchline for the polls–"utho, jaago, badlo" (rise, awaken and change)–at a rally at Phulpur, about 30 kms from Allahabad. Gandhi will be leading the charge in the politically key state for the `Mission UP-2012`, party sources say. It comes in the backdrop of reports that he could be elevated to the position of working president of the party sooner than later.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who recently underwent surgery abroad for an undisclosed ailment, had to cancel last week the launch of the poll campaign in neighbouring Uttarakhand following viral fever. Posters and banners for the polls have been increasingly projecting the young Gandhi as the future leader. Congress is seeking to impress upon the voters in the home state of the Gandhi-Nehru family that only it can set things right as it is the only one party which can give a "befitting reply" to the ills facing it."Jawab ham denge" (we will give befitting reply) is the party catchline. The choice of Phulpur for the launch of the campaign is also significant given the fact that it was the constituency from where Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was elected to Parliament in the first Lok Sabha elections.

41-year old Rahul has been instrumental in the show put up by the Congress in the last Lok sabha polls when it secured as many as 22 of the 80 seats in the state, bringing it in the reckoning in the crucial state after two decades. According to political observers, it had gone into political wilderness in the wake of the `mandir` and the `mandal` agitations.