The Congress kick-started its campaign for the upcoming polls in Uttar Pradesh with party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi flagging off a three-day bus yatra named “27 Saal UP Behaal” from the party headquarters on Saturday.

Apart from senior party leaders, including its general secretary in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad, the newly-appointed Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar and the party’s chief ministerial candidate Sheila Dikshit will travel across the state in the bus to deliver their electoral message.

“This time people in Uttar Pradesh want development. They see the BJP, BSP and the Samajwadi Party as parties which create a divide. We want clean politics in Uttar Pradesh and this is our main agenda,” Azad told reporters minutes before boarding the bus.

To reverse the decades of declining vote share in UP, the party is working toward cultivating Muslim and Brahmin voters and for that matter it pitched Sheila Dixit, a Brahmin, as its chief ministerial candidate. In the next two months, the party will hold 27 bus yatras.

Mr. Azad said that the party aims to inform people of Uttar Pradesh that as the Congress lost power in the 1989 state elections a spell of poor governance cast by BSP, BJP and SP continued for 27 years.

Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to join the campaign on July 29 in Lucknow where 50,000 party workers are expected to come. On August 2, Sonia Gandhi would undertake a road show in Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the 2012 elections, Samajwadi Party had a landslide in a 403-member assembly, winning 224 seats with the BSP and BJP bagging 80 and 47 constituencies respectively.