Lucknow: When Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi arrives in Lucknow on Friday, after a gap of almost a year and a half, to assess ground realities in Congress party, Priyanka will be in for some surprises and shocks – more of the latter.
Among the ‘shocks’ she will be faced with are a non-existent organization at the grassroots level, dwindling public support to the party, severe infighting in party ranks and a total loss of direction on the eve of assembly elections.
“During Priyanka Gandhi tour, she is expected to interact with various sections in the party. It remains to be seen whether only a selected group is allowed to meet her so that reality remains hidden or if Priyanka actually meets rank and file,” said a party leader.
The Congress has put up a poor show in the recent panchayat polls, exposing the claims made by state leadership that it had built strong organization teams at district and block levels following the party’s revamp.
The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) leaders had assured the party leadership of a good show in the panchayat polls that they said would make the party a strong claimant for power in the 2022 UP assembly elections.
However, the Congress fared miserably even in its bastions, including Amethi, Raebareli and Sultanpur, and the party could not make its presence felt in the panchayat elections.
Except for three block panchayats in Congress Legislature Party leader Aradhana Mishra’s assembly constituency and a block panchayat in Amethi MLC Deepak Singh’s area, no other party leader has been able to ensure victory of any party supported candidate in the rural polls.
Infighting within the Congress has increased manifold and more and more leaders are resigning after airing their resentment against the ‘autocratic and casteist function of UPCC chief Ajay Kumar Lallu.’
“Congress workers are resigning almost every day in protest against the state of affairs in UP. They are posting their resignations on the social media. Some leaders have also been accused of taking money to make appointments in the organization. We will definitely want to meet Priyanka Gandhi and apprise her of the situation. However, we are not sure if her coterie allows us to meet her,” said Konark Dixit, an expelled Congress leader.
A sizeable section of the Congress in UP wants Priyanka to bring back old guards and other senior leaders into party’s mainstream.
A divide has persisted between the UPCC’s new team and the old guards following action taken against them. Efforts have yet to be initiated to bring the old guards into the mainstream and many senior leaders still find themselves isolated.
As a veteran leader put it, “The Congress first needs to stop fighting with its own leaders before it can devise a plan to challenge the BJP. The UPCC leaders are making time-tested mistakes of reaching out to communities like Muslims and OBCs, instead of addressing issues that involve all.”