The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have undertaken separate grassroots outreach programmes in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP campaign is headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, while the Congress campaign is anchored by its state unit chief Raj Babbar. The initial programme is aimed at targetting rural population. Keeping in mind party’s poor track record in village-dominated constituencies, Adityanath, along with some senior party leaders, are participating in ‘gram chaupals’ (public meetings in villages) in various districts to inform the public about the central and state government initiatives.
On the other hand, Congress is holding block-level meetings to “expose the BJP governments” and their “unkept promises, corruption”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Raj Babbar said the public contact programme of the BJP is a farce. “At all these so-called chaupals, the CM is only making speeches and asking questions that he wants to (address). The public are not getting a chance to speak about their problems,” Babbar was quoted as saying by IE.
On the other hand, he said that Congress leaders are holding block-level meetings to understand problems of people. Babbar said that the party will release a detailed document to “expose” the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in the state. “Leaders have been asked to continue these meetings till June 25,” he told IE.
The saffron party has set a target of reaching out to 13,500 sectors Uttar Pradesh through its gram chaupals programme. So far, Uttar Pradesh chief minister has addressed public gatherings in Sikandarpur Sarosi village of Unnao, Sultanganj block of Mainpuri, Lahaurinagar village of Lakhimpur Kheri and Kasmanda village of Sitapur. However, state BJP spokesperson Harish Srivastava rejected Babbar’s claim and said that ‘things are becoming difficult for Congress’ due to his party’s enhanced outreach.