Despite the Congress party's dismal performance in the recent assembly elections, the party's star campaigner and MP Rahul Gandhi is likely to start early for the Lok Sabha elections in 2009.
"It is only a matter of time when Rahul comes back to the state to lead the party," Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) President Salman Khursheed said in Lucknow on Sunday. "He may have started late for the Assembly polls but he will definitely start early for the next Parliamentary polls." He said that the young Congress MP had made it clear that he had his sight on the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and not the Assembly elections.
Khursheed, however, could not specify the time. "I am sure Rahul will very soon come to UP. I know he will," he said and added that Rahul had said during his campaigning that he would keep coming to the people of the state," Khursheed said.
Denying that he was not given a free hand in running the party affairs in the state, Khursheed admitted that the organisational set up of the party was not strong enough to support the party candidates.
On caste factors in selection of candidates, he said that for the first time his party gave tickets to people belonging to castes like Lonia, Rajbhar and others but they too fared badly.
"Only caste can not guarantee success. We had fielded Ummed Singh, husband of the slain "bandit queen" Phoolan Devi, but he also could not fare well," Khursheed said.