After lying low for a while after his party’s drubbing in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi is going back to the state on April 30 to ascertain the reasons for the poll debacle, particularly in his parliamentary constituency.
During his three-day visit to Amethi, the first after the elections, he will interact with party leaders and workers. To revive the Congress in the politically crucial state, where it has been out of power since 1989, Gandhi had led the Congress poll campaign from the front — addressing 211 public meetings across Uttar Pradesh in just 45 days.
The high-voltage poll battle also saw Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and her husband Robert Vadra campaigning in the family pockets of Amethi, Rae Bareli and Sultanpur.
Despite their efforts, the Congress suffered a major setback and won just 28 seats — six more than its tally in the 2007 elections. The party was completely wiped out in Rae Bareli, represented in Lok Sabha by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and Sultanpur. It failed to register a win in 10 assembly segments of the two parliamentary constituencies. In Amethi, it managed to win two of five seats.
The poll defeat dealt a veritable blow to the morale of Congress workers there, and it is hoped that Gandhi’s return to the state would help infuse some confidence in them.
With the top Congress leadership holding the weak organisational set-up responsible for the party’s electoral defeat, the task is cut out for Gandhi — to build up the party’s fortunes from the grassroots level and strive for better performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
But before going to Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi will pay a two-day visit to Maharashtra from Friday. He will meet NSUI and Youth Congress workers in Mumbai, besides elected representatives.