40% Seats for Women in 2022 UP Polls: Congress pits girl power against Caste

Lucknow, Oct. 19: The Congress will reserve 40 per cent of its tickets in the coming Uttar Pradesh elections for women, party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said today. “Women can bring about change and they need to step forward,” Ms Gandhi Vadra said at a press conference today.

“This decision is for the girls of Uttar Pradesh… … This decision is for women who want change,” said Ms Gandhi Vadra, who was tasked with winning Uttar Pradesh for the Congress three years ago by her brother Rahul Gandhi.

There was a caveat. “The candidate’s competence will determine the ticket,” added the 49-year-old, who took the plunge into politics in January 2019 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Traditionally, caste has played a major role in elections in Uttar Pradesh. For the elections due next year, it is likely to be on traditional lines, with the BJP seen as trying to placate the Brahmins.

The so-called upper caste has been miffed with the selection of Yogi Adityanath, a Rajput, for the top post.

This is seen as a key factor in Ajay Mishra, whose son has been arrested in the case involving running over of farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri, continuing as the junior minister for home at the Centre..

Opposition parties including the Congress have repeatedly called for the minister’s resignation.

Amid this, the Congress is seen as highlighting the gender issue in a state where multiple crimes against women have been reported in the last few years. Some of these cases — including the gangrape of a Dalit woman in Hathras, and the case in Unnao — made headlines and evoked outrage across the country.

Targetting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Ms Gandhi Vadra said those who “speak up” in the state are crushed.

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