In an attempt to counter Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s man Amit Shah in UP, the Congress has appointed general secretary Madhusudan Devram Mistry as UP incharge. He has replaced long-time UP inchrage and general secretary Digvijay Singh.
Mistry, 68, belonging to backward class community, is also member of election coordination committee headed by the AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Mistry had lost 2009 Lok Sabha election from Sabarkantha in north Gujarat.
Sankarsinh Vaghela had introduced him into politics and he joined the Congress along with him in mid-’90. Simple and suave, Mistry has been know in party circle for good organizational capacity. Before plunging into the politics Mistry worked for tribals of Sabarkantha for nearly three decades through his two NGOs. With Good understanding of social and economic issues, he was a union leader in his early days, and then worked for an international NGO Oxfam. Later he set up his own NGOs Disha and Patheya in 1985.
Hailing the appointment, the UPCC president Dr Nirmal Khatri said it would help the party in the state. Khatri also thanked AICC president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for deputing Mistry to UP.
With Congress in dire strait in the state, Mistry has no doubt a difficult task cut for himself. His selection has however been seen in the party circle as a clear message to BJP to off set Amit Shah’s impact on UP.
Since he is from Gujarat, Mistry would be able to effectively counter BJP’s Shah in UP, commented a senior Congress leader.
Dr Khatri said the under the guidance of Mistry the party would face the challenges and be able to achieve the target in 2014 parliamentary election. Mistry was also instrumental in the victory of the party in last month Karnataka election. Apart from Karnataka, Mistry was also incharge of Kerala and Lakshwadeep. Mistry, a low-profile backward class leader had also played significant role in victory of Congress-led front in Kerala assembly election in 2011 also.
Even though under Digvijay Singh’s guidance the party had succeeded in winning 21 Lok Sabha seats in 2009, in assembly election the performance of the party was indeed poor. While in 2009 the party got 18.25% vote, it came down to 11.63% in 2012 assembly election. Party sources on the condition of anonymity said that factionalism had assumed serious dimension during the last few years and Mistry would be facing a daunting task to tackle the situation.
Commenting over the appointment former UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi said Mistry was a very senior leader and had worked at the grassroots level to boost the party. Pointing out that Mistry was a very capable leader, Joshi said he was good replacement to Digvijay Singh.