Lucknow, September 23:Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi reached Uttar Pradesh Wednesday on an unannounced visit, to the surprise of his party leaders and state police alike.
Gandhi landed at Lucknow airport around 3.30 p.m. and sped away in his Tata Safari that had arrived here earlier from Delhi along with Special Protection Guards (SPG) securitymen.
An official at the Air Traffic Control, requesting anonymity, said Gandhi came by Kingfisher Airlines in economy class.
Neither local Congressmen nor the state police had any clue about his programme or destination. Even the state intelligence department drew a blank about his “sudden” visit.
He visited villages in Barabanki district and some local journalists there also spoke to him. A message from a local sms news service said Gandhi went to Ramnagar town of the district, some 25 km from state capital Lucknow, and met people at random.
He also interacted with villagers in the Bahraich district, according to official sources, who, however, could not confirm his final destination.
State Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who is currently in New Delhi, knew nothing about the Congress leader’s “surprise” tour here.
“We are not even aware whether some party leader was accompanying Rahulji on this visit or not,” said a senior UP Congress leader here.
There was speculation among political circles that the visit could be to get a feel of various parts of Uttar Pradesh other than his Amethi and his mother Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli constituencies in the state.
Back in his Amethi constituency, Gandhi’s supporters and party workers were anxiously hoping he would pay a visit to his sponsored hospital on wheels – better known as Lifeline Express – that annually brings all modern medical services to the local railway station.