Poll countdown begins, but Cong not battle-ready | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Poll countdown begins, but Cong not battle-ready

The Congress may appear to be working hard to revive its fortunes in Uttar Pradesh after more than two decades but the party is still struggling to strengthen its organisational base in the state with the crucial assembly elections a few months away. Aurangzeb Naqshbandi reports.

delhi Updated: Oct 20, 2011 00:24 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

The Congress may appear to be working hard to revive its fortunes in Uttar Pradesh after more than two decades but the party is still struggling to strengthen its organisational base in the state with the crucial assembly elections a few months away.

This was admitted by party general secretary in-charge of UP affairs Digvijaya Singh at a recent campaign committee meeting for the next year's assembly elections in the state.

Congress sources said Singh lamented the lack of organisational structure in the state at the grassroots level.

Singh's views were earlier echoed by several observers appointed to gather information on the party's presence and prospects in different parts of the state ahead of polls.

The members of the campaign committee also lamented the "lack of winnable candidates" in the Congress as a result of which the party "would be forced to give tickets to the outsiders".

"Mostly these outsiders are those who seek Congress mandate after being denied ticket from the other parties… They switch sides only for tickets and don't have any organisational commitment or even subscribe to Congress ideology," a senior leader said.

The Congress has so far declared two lists for UP polls. While the first list had 73 names, the second had 62 candidates. Polls in the state for the 403-member assembly are due in April 2012. The assembly has to be constituted by May 13.

Out of power since 1989, the Congress is desperately seeking to regain its lost political ground in the country's most populous and fourth largest state in terms of area. The party did make a partial comeback in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when it won 21 seats.

After the 2007 debacle, the central leadership of the Congress had blamed lack of organisational activities in the state and had stressed the need for strengthening it. However, senior leaders sounded confident given that the party enjoys "tremendous goodwill among the public who are fed up" with the Mayawati government. "With assembly polls fast approaching, the focus of the party is to mount a spirited campaign throughout UP in order to organisationally transform that goodwill into votes," a senior party functionary said.