Pressure is building up within the Congress to field candidates against Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri) and his daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav, who had won the by-election from Kannauj Lok Sabha seat.
Such a demand was raised at the meeting All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary (incharge for UP) Madhusudan Mistry had with senior leaders and office bearers from Mainpuri, Etawah and Auraiya districts.
“We did not field candidates at Mainpuri and Kannauj seats in 2009. We also did not field a candidate from Etawah (home district of Mulayam Singh Yadav) Lok Sabha seat that was left for Mahan Dal in 2009. Will the party contest these seats this time,” asked Satyadev Tripathi, a senior party leader.
Mistry said told the gathering the party would consider fielding candidates at these seats if a strong organisation was built there.
Mistry asked the party leaders to build a cadre of at least 10,000 workers in each of these seats. “Mistry however failed to give a convincing reply about fielding a party candidate against the top SP leadership,” said another party leader.
Briefing media persons about the deliberations at the meeting, UPCC president Nirmal Khatri later said he was also in favour of fielding party candidates at all the seats.
“We are a national party and we should have candidates contesting all the seats,” said Khatri.
Much significance is being attached to the demand, especially because the Samajwadi Party has so far refrained from announcing any candidate against AICC president Sonia Gandhi and AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi, who won the 2009 Lok Sabha poll from Rae Bareli and Amethi Lok Sabha seats respectively.
Will there be a rethink on the issue is the obvious question being asked in the Congress’ circles here.
In 2009, the Congress had fielded its candidates only on 69 Lok Sabha seats, deciding not field candidates from Mainpuri and Kannauj.
The party, however, decided to field a candidate against Dimple Yadav in the 2009 by-election to Firozabad Lok Sabha seat, which Congress candidate Raj Babbar won.
Later in 2012, Dimple won the Kannuj Lok Sabha seat unopposed with no party fielding a candidate against her.
Besides addressing the party leaders at a joint meeting, Mistry also met them in smaller groups comprising leaders from the districts falling under zone-8 of the party.
Mistry said the party leaders should not hesitate in launching agitation programmes to oppose the policies of the Samajwadi Party government in the state thinking the SP supported the UPA government at the Centre.
Airing their views, party leaders from Etawah, Manpuri and Auraiya said the SP government was perpetrating atrocities on the Congress workers in their districts.
“No senior party leaders, including union ministers, have visited these districts to boost the morale of the Congress workers in the Samajwadi Party bastion,” said another party leader.
Mistry, however, insisted on building the party cadres on all the seats asying the party leaders should retain their selfconfidence.
“How can a party with 10 seats (BJP) challenge the Congress with 22 seats,” said Mistry.