As part of Rahul Gandhi’s strategy to regain power in Uttar Pradesh after nearly two decades, Congress has decided to announce it’s candidates for the state assembly elections almost a year before .
The party will announce the candidates for all the 403 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh in 2011, a senior Congress functionary said.
It would enable the candidates to understand the problems of their constituents and connect with them. The move would also give them sufficient time for poll preparations.
The polls are considered crucial for the Congress to re-emerge as the single dominant force at the Centre.
Congress managers believe that there is a strong existence of a Congress undercurrent in several parts of Uttar Pradesh where the party held sway for the first four decades after independence and was voted out of power in 1989. At present,
the party has 22 legislators in the 403-member state assembly.
Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Digvijay Singh said the poll preparations have already begun with the party appointing 10 observers who would be given charge of at least 40 assembly constituencies.
“We will contest all the 403 assembly seats in the state. The names of candidates would be announced much in advance, which would give them time to organise themselves and fight the elections with greater focus,” Singh said.
To gain a foothold in jat-dominated western Uttar Pradesh, party managers are working hard to persuade Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh to merge with the Congress before the assembly elections.
Singh is not too keen on the merger but favoured a long-term alliance mutually beneficial for both the parties.
But, Congress managers are unwilling to oblige him. “There is no question of any alliance, only merger is possible if he agrees,” said a senior central leader.