Congress sounds poll bugle; Sonia, Rahul flag off three-day bus Yatra ’27 Saal UP Behaal’
New Delhi, July 23 : The Congress Party on Saturday formally launched its Uttar Pradesh Assembly election campaign with party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi flagging off a bus yatra '27 Saal UP Behaal' from the party office in the national capital. The three-day bus yatra was flagged off in the presence of newly-appointed Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar, the party's chief ministerial candidate Sheila Dikshit and the AICC general secretary for UP, Ghulam Nabi Azad. "This time people in Uttar Pradesh want development. They see the BJP, BSP and the Samajwadi Party as parties which create a divide. We want clean politics in Uttar Pradesh and this is our agenda," Azad said. "The Congress Party respects and represents all religions and this is our message to the people of Uttar Pradesh," he added. In the road show, the party aims to highlight 27 years of poor governance since it lost power in the 1989 state elections to the now-defunct Janata Dal. Rahul Gandhi will join the campaign on July 29 in Lucknow where he will meet 50,000 party workers. On August 2, Sonia would undertake a road show in Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Politically crucial Uttar Pradesh will go to polls in early 2017. In the 2012 elections, the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party secured a simple majority in the 403-member assembly, winning 224 seats with the BSP and BJP bagging 80 and 47 constituencies respectively.