One postcard at a time: Priyanka pushing Cong as alternative to SP, BSP

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra waves at public as she leaves after meeting with Ruqaiya Parveen, whose house was allegedly ransacked by the police during the violence that broke out after anti-CAA protests, in Muzaffarnagar

Congress General Secretary (in charge of Uttar Pradesh) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (pictured) is today among the most visible and active Opposition leaders attacking the Yogi Adityanath government. To supplement her Twitter posts and mass media communication to the people of Uttar Pradesh, Team Vadra is now sending 10 million New Year greeting postcards to prominent citizens — comprising writers, journalists, social workers, and activists — of the state. Each postcard contains the New Year message and the Preamble of the Constitution, one on each side. It also seeks to reach out to the common people, and is a pitch for the coming panchayat polls and to position the Congress as a strong contender vis-à-vis the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

From protests to more protests

There have been questions within the Congress why its students’ and youth units are not coming out in large numbers to join the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests. While there were apprehensions that the protests could be short-lived and the Congress only tentatively deployed its resources in opposing the CAA, it is now emboldened with students across the country sustaining the protests. The National Students Union of India (NSUI) and Indian Youth Congress (IYC) have over the past two days held several protests. These include one in Ahmedabad, where NSUI activists were beaten up, and another one in Delhi. Party sources said more such protests were in the offing.

Government servants in a bind

Political support aside, it is now visibly clear that people across sections have supported the recent students-led protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and vandalism and violence at universities. However, for government employees, it continues to remain a dilemma whether to join these protests. After talking to some of those at protest sites and a cross-section of others working in public sector undertakings — from banks to oil majors — and other wings of the government, one gets the impression that while they support the protesters’ cause, showing up at protest venues or revealing their identities there could mean attracting unwanted attention at workplaces. These could vary from creating a negative perception among seniors or receiving jibes from “overly jingoistic colleagues who question the protesters’ loyalty to the state”. While none confirmed an official gag order, they weren’t exactly happy with the situation and felt that there was an invisible curb on expressing themselves freely. A few still show up and reveal their employer.

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