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Cong to cash in on election gains

Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi intends to press ahead with the Congress’s gains in the recent bypolls, by giving greater focus to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where the party plans to go it alone in the next round of assembly polls.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2009 01:09 IST
Saroj Nagi

Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi intends to press ahead with the Congress’s gains in the recent bypolls, by giving greater focus to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where the party plans to go it alone in the next round of assembly polls.

Congress leaders believe that a comeback in these two states will help the party return to power at the centre on its own.

Towards this end, the Congress will dispense with the practice of last minute announcement of candidates, said senior leader and UP-incharge Digvijay Singh. “We will announce our nominees a year before the 2012 polls in UP.”

This time-span also exceeds the three-month period recommended by the Antony Committee report almost a decade back.

Gandhi is expected to depute a team of 10 observers to assess the party’s situation in the 402 assembly seats in the state. Each observer will hold charge of about 40 segments to help the party oust the ruling BSP.

Gandhi will also campaign in Bihar where elections are due next year. After shedding baggage of allies like Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP, the Congress wants to stand on its own strength.

“Our strategy in Bihar is reflected in the upcoming elections in Jharkhand where we decided not to go with the RJD or the JMM despite their pressure for a secular alliance,” said a Congressman unwilling to be identified.

The party expects the winds of change to blow in the tribal state where Gandhi has sought to strengthen the Youth Congress. Party leaders see the next two years as particularly bright for the Congress with elections coming up in Bengal and Kerala.