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Will changes breathe life into UP Congress?

india Updated: Jul 02, 2006 01:37 IST
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NOTWITHSTANDING ITS assertions against politics of caste, the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) appears to be relying more on the old tested combination of Brahmins, Muslims and Dalits while inducting new faces as District Congress Committee and City Congress Committee presidents.

As per the new list released on Saturday, chiefs of 81 out of 112 district and city units of the Congress have been changed. Changes on 10 seats have been put on hold , obviously in a bid to evolve a consensus to satisfy leaders of various party factions there. A senior party functionary claimed that efforts had been made to accommodate all sections of the society.The caste break-up of the list indicated that Brahmins were given 34 seats. At the same time Muslims and Dalits had been preferred on 28 and 11 seats respectively.

Senior party leaders like Union Minister for Small Scale Industries Mahavir Prasad, Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal, Begum Noor Bano and others have had the last word in their domains. This is evident from the fact that a nominee of Mahavir Prasad from Deoria had been given responsibility of Gorakhpur District Congress Committee. Changes in Congress MP Jitin Prasada’s Shahjhanpur  constituency  have been kept pending. City Congress Committee president of Varanasi in the constituency of party MP Rajesh Mishra is yet to be appointed.

UPCC president Salman Khurshid, however, expressed satisfaction over the announcement of the new list. The UPCC executive committee would also be constituted soon, he said, adding final touches were being given to the list.

UPCC organisation incharge Satyadev Tripathi said the Central Election Authority of the party had approved the new list released today. All the district and city party chiefs had been asked to send lists of their respective executive committees and block and ward committees for approval from the UPCC, said Tripathi.

Significantly, changes have been effected in an obvious bid to strengthen the party for the coming Vidhan Sabha elections. The changes, however, have come after a long gap. Whether the changes will satisfy the various party factions and rejuvenate the State Congress before Congress president Sonia Gandhi and MP Rahul Gandhi launch the party’s election campaign is the million-dollar question that will be answered in the days to come. A close scrutiny of the list indicates that even old stalwarts have not been spared while loyal party workers have been accommodated, even though many of them did not enjoy any patronage.

Amarnath Mishra replaces Ashok Bajpai as district Congress committee president of Allahabad. Will this help in rejuvenating the Congress in Allahabad? In Lucknow, Vipin Bihari Shukla has been made the new DCC president. Achal Mehrotra replaces Sushil Dubey as Lucknow’s City Congress Committee president. Incidentally, both Dubey and Mehrotra are considered nominees of Union Minister of State for Steel Akhilesh Das.

Salman said he had already commenced his statewide tours. “I visited the districts of western UP in the last four to five days. The Congress has worked out an extensive programme for the Vidhan Sabha polls,” Khurshid said.