AN UPBEAT mood prevails among Congressmen following Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s announcement that Rahul Gandhi would play a major role in UP polls even as the UPCC is scheduled to hold its first meeting on Tuesday to discuss strategy to be adopted for the local bodies and the assembly elections.
If senior party leaders are to be believed Rahul Gandhi’s active participation in the Assembly poll campaign will upset the applecart of other major parties. As Sonia Gandhi’s call for ‘jail bharo’ poses a major challenge to the Congress, the UPCC would workout a strategy to make the programme a success and provide an apt ground for Rahul’s formal launch in the poll campaign in the state.
Much significance is being attached to the UPCC’s meeting as it comes after the Congress’ successful Nav Nirman rallies at Kanpur and Bareilly. UPCC chief spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh said the Congress president’s announcement about Rahul was a welcome step. There had been a growing demand from all sections of the society for Rahul, he said. The youths would rally behind Congress under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, he said adding that the UPCC too would discuss the issue.
UPCC president Salman Khurshid would preside over the meeting that would also be attended by AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot, Union Ministers Mahavir Prasad, Sriprakash Jaiswal and Dr Akhilesh Das. He said retired IAS officer PL Punia and Arti Singh, wife of former minister Saraswati Pratap Singh, would join the party on the occasion.
UP Youth Congress president Nadeem Ashraf Jaisi said the party’s announcement about Rahul had upset senior leaders of major parties. UPCC vice-president Siraj Mehandi said the Congress would successfully end the Mulayam’s era in UP under Rahul’s leadership. Meanwhile, the UPCC (Local body cell) has convened a meeting from September 28 to October 1, 2006 to finalise the list of candidates for the local bodies poll.