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Disgruntled Congress cadre fall in line

Priyanka proposes to interact with workers of Jagdishpur and Gauriganj of Amethi on Saturday before departing for Rae Bareli, reports Umesh Raghuvanshi.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2007 03:25 IST

As Priyanka Gandhi Vadera arrived in Amethi, she had a clear task cutout for herself - to make the disgruntled cadre fall in line. And she managed to do so considerably on day one of her three-day ‘mission victory’ to the twin constituencies of her brother Rahul Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi.

“This is not a question of candidates. The Congress is contesting the election. So you all have to cooperate,” said Priyanka, while holding a meeting with workers who had been summoned for a close interaction with her. Priyanka was responding to a Congress worker from Salon, who pointed out that the party’s candidate from Salon assembly segment Shiv Balak Pasi was not popular. “Pasi has lost election thrice. People are not happy with him,” he said.

“Tickets can not be changed at this stage,” replied Priyanka, adding that everybody would have to cooperate at this stage or face action. “I will also give more time and hold corner meetings here,” she said.

After sensing the feelings of party workers, Priyanka had set a clear agenda for herself. Soon after reaching Munshiganj Guest House here, Priyanka summoned the candidates who had been given the party ticket from the 10 assembly segments under two Lok Sabha constituencies of Amethi and Rae Bareli.

“What are your problems? How long should the campaigning be in your area,” asked Priyanka, who later had a meeting with Congress workers of Salon, Tiloi and Amethi assembly segments of Amethi Lok Sabha seat.

Priyanka proposes to interact with workers of Jagdishpur and Gauriganj of Amethi on Saturday before departing for Rae Bareli.

“Are you new to Congress,” asked Priyanka when the Congress’ candidate from Bachrawan Raja Ram Tyagi went to see her. “Yes, I refused the BJP ticket to join Congress,” replied Tyagi, adding, “We need you for one day to campaign.”

Priyanka assured him that she would launch her campaign after April 15 when she plans to be back here.

A large number of Congressmen had assembled in front of Munshiganj Guest House soon after her arrival.

As Congress had given tickets to a considerable number of party hoppers in this region, resentment among the party loyalists was obvious. There are 15 assembly segments in Sultanpur and Rae Bareli districts.

Out of them, names of three candidates had figured in the BJP’s list. Those who refused the BJP ticket and decided to fight on Congress ticket included Awadhesh Pratap Singh from Isauli, Raja Ram Tyagi from Bachhrawan and Shiv Balak Pasi from Salon. Congress candidate from Gauriganj Mohammad Naim too had recently joined the party after leaving the BSP.

A section of Congressmen also pointed out that caste combinations had not been considered in the distribution of tickets. Congress worker Vinod Mishra said no Brahmin had been given a party ticket on any of the 10 assembly segments of the two Lok Sabha constituencies.

Significantly, Priyanka now faces a tough task ahead as the Congress has negligible representation in the assembly segments despite winning the two Lok Sabha seats with record margins. While Congress has sitting MLAs on Amethi and Jagdishpur seats, there is no Congress MLA in Rae Bareli.