Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi staged a ‘road show,' dubbed as ‘jan sampark yatra' (contact with the public), here on Thursday to drum up support for party candidates contesting the Assembly polls in the State capital. Riding on a bus embossed with the party's poll slogan, ‘Utho, jaago, badlo' (arise, awake and change) the Amethi MP's road show stretched for about 34 km across localities, some of them very congested, in all the five Assembly segments — Lucknow Cantonment, Lucknow West, Lucknow Central, Lucknow East and Lucknow North — before rounding off the yatra at the VVIP Guest House.
Mr. Gandhi waved from a ‘VVIP bus' as a cheering crowd of supporters — comprising youth, mostly from the Old City areas — lined the streets.
Surrounded by a tight security cordon, the Congress general secretary did not get down from the vehicle throughout his four-and-a-half hour-long yatra.
This was the first roadside meeting Mr. Gandhi held since the gathering he addressed at the DAV college here on Wednesday.
Starting from Amausi airport at around 3.30 p.m., Mr. Gandhi's convoy consisted of about 50 vehicles and his first stop was at the busy Alambagh crossing in the Lucknow Cantonment constituency. Thereafter, the caravan moved into the old city and the Muslim-dominated areas of Tikait Rai Talab, Bulaqi Adda, Old Hyderganj, Tooriyaganj, Nakhas, Rakabganj, Maulviganj and Golaganj.
Said Yameen Hussain, a trader of Nakhas: “People want a clean government, and the Congress should be given a chance to form the next government; both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra have been working very hard.”
Noor Abbas of Old Hyderganj felt both Hindus and Muslims were likely to support the Congress candidates in the city.
After taking a round of the Chowk area in Old Lucknow, considered to be the stronghold of the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Lucknow, Lalji Tandon, Mr. Gandhi's cavalcade went to Khadra, Daliganj, Aliganj, Mahanagar and Nishatganj before entering Hazratganj through Ashok Marg. A huge crowd had gathered at the Novelty cinema crossing in Lalbagh.
The road show ended at the VVIP Guest House opposite Loreto Convent at around 7.30 p.m. All the five Congress candidates, Rita Bahuguna Joshi (Lucknow Cantt.), Shyam Kishore Shukla (sitting MLA from Lucknow West), Fakhir Siddiqui (Lucknow Central), Ramesh Srivastava (Lucknow East) and Neeraj Bora (Lucknow North) accompanied Mr. Gandhi in the bus and stood next to him as the vehicle moved in their constituencies.