Cong gears up for UP polls with camps, public contact drive
The Congress appears to be racing against time as it prepares the party organisation for the Uttar Pradesh assembly election due in early 2022.
The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) is holding 700 camps to train its nearly two lakh (0.2 million) workers and the process of appointing presidents of nearly 58,000 village units and setting up booth committees.
“Our training camps will end by September 7. We hope to complete setting up the organisation structure up to the grassroots level by October 2. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has given indications about starting her tours from a district in the state’s eastern region. Her tours may begin after the 100-day Prashikshan se Parakram (training for valour) programme ending on September 7,” said a senior Congress leader.
Priyanka addressed the party workers at some of the training camps via video conference last week. She asked them to go door to door to connect with the people and listen to their problems.
“We got a very good response to the party’s Jai Bharat Jan Sampark mega campaign launched to connect with the people from August 19 to 21. About 20,000 senior leaders went door to door during the mega campaign to connect with nearly nine million (90 lakh) people and listened to their problems,” said another party leader. The Congress began revamping its organisation structure soon after its debacle in the 2019 Lok Sabha election in which it won only one seat, Rae Bareli, in Uttar Pradesh. Before that, the Congress contested the 2017 assembly election in alliance with the Samajwadi Party. It won only seven seats in the 403-member state assembly. Two out of the seven Congress MLAs (Adit Singh and Rakesh Singh from Rae Bareli and Harchadpur assembly seats of Rae Bareli) are considered close to the BJP though they continue to be Congress legislators.
It remains to be seen whether the Congress will have an alliance in the 2022 assembly election. Priyanka recently indicated (in an informal interaction with media persons in Lucknow) that she was open to an alliance with like-minded parties. A Congress booklet brought out recently targeted the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alike giving indications that the party was gearing up for “ekla chalo” (going it alone) in the assembly election.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Ajay Kumar Lallu said the Congress was ready for polls and would align only with smaller parties in the 2022 UP assembly election. Congress Legislature Party leader Aradhana Mishra ‘Mona’ said, “We are getting ready to fight the 2022 assembly election on our own. Our sangthan srajan (formation of organisation structure) is in the final stages and camps are in progress to impart training to the party workers.”
Senior Congress leader PL Punia said, “As far as the issue of an alliance with any political party is concerned, the Congress is getting ready to fight the 2022 assembly election on its own.”
“The Congress should reach out to the masses with a positive approach. It’s very clear that the Congress has not worked out any concrete programme and if the party is going to the people with a mindset to target the BJP only, this is going to be a futile exercise,” said prof SK Dwivedi, former head of the department of political science, Lucknow University.