As part of campaigning for Lok Sabha elections, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra undertook a boat ride on the river Ganga from Prayagraj to Varanasi. This campaign by the sister of Congress president was an obvious media attraction, but it seems the organisers of the event forgot one crucial element in such public events, the arrangement for media.
Covering a boat ride is quite different from covering a road show or rally, and when journalists asked the party leaders how to arrange this event, they didn’t have an answer. When the boat journey was started 2 hours late, more confusion and chaos happened.
As per reports, after the Priyanka Gandhi Vadra boarded the boat near Prayagraj which was decorated for the ride, another boat came near it. Someone suggested that it was arranged for journalists, so dozens of journalists present there rushed to it. In the rush, many journalists slipped off the boat.
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Congress leaders who were not accommodated in the Priyanka’s boat also boarded it, resulting in heavy overload. The boat started to sway violently and the boatman said that at least 20 men will have to get off. Ultimately, the Congress leaders got off from the boat reluctantly. But by the time all this chaos was over, Priyanka Vadra’s boat was long gone.
But that was not the end of trouble for journalists. When their boat reached middle of the river, its engine stopped. The boatman did an inspection of the situation and announced that the vessel was stuck in the sand as water level was too low in the river. The journalists were told that the boat can’t move further and they will have to go back. A new smaller boat was summoned for the stranded journalists, which came after around half an hour and took them to the river bank, their journey with Priyanka Gandhi Vatra’s Ganga Yatra being cancelled.
Reportedly, the administration was reluctant to give the go ahead for the program due to the low water problem in this time of the year, but had to relent on Congress party’s insistence. The local party leaders were visibly angry at the incident, saying that this is what happens when people prepare programmes in their drawing rooms without consulting local people.