Struggling to arrest its falling fortunes in electorally important Uttar Pradesh, the Congress may carry out a massive rejig of its state leadership within the next fortnight and announce its chief ministerial candidate.
There are also views within a section of the party that a turnaround in Uttar Pradesh is possible only if either of the Gandhis — Priyanka or Rahul — takes the lead in the state polls, PTI quoted sources in the know of the developments as saying.
However, there has been no indication from the party so far that it is inclined to field any of the two Gandhis in the assembly polls in the state where Congress is considered to be on a weak wicket.
Poll strategist Prashant Kishor is learnt to be in favour of either of the Gandhis taking the lead in the state election and, if they do not agree, a well-known Brahmin face should be projected as the chief ministerial candidate.
The sources close to the leadership said key decisions about the rejig are likely to be announced after May 19, the day counting of votes for the assembly polls in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry takes place.
The Pradesh Congress Committee Chief, the Congress Legislature Party Leader and even those managing the state affairs at the AICC level could be changed, the sources say.
Making a serious attempt to stage a comeback in the state to which most of the Congress Prime Ministers belonged and where it has been in wilderness after the surge in Mandal-Mandir poitics, the party has roped in Kishor, who is learnt to have strongly favoured a Brahmin as the party’s face in the polls due next year.
The name of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has also been considered, sources said.
Kishor, who had managed the hugely successful election campaigns for Narendra Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance in the Bihar assembly elections last year, has been drafted by the Congress to draw up a campaign strategy for the key cow belt state.
There is a thought in the party that since Brahmins, who constitute 10 to 12 per cent of the electorate, are the only vote bloc Congress can hope to make inroads into, projection of a person from the community as chief ministerial face would help the party regain their support. With the advent of Mandal-Mandir politics, Brahmins, who had traditionally voted for Congress, shifted allegiance to the BJP.