Priyanka Gandhi stresses on revamp of Congress’s UP unit
The Congress’s organisation structure in Uttar Pradesh is likely to be a challenge for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the general secretary incharge of east UP, as she continues to interact with party workers to firm up a strategy for the general elections.
“I am learning a lot about how to restructure the organisation and the changes needed to be made on the road ahead. I’m also getting their views on how to fight these elections and win them,” she said, having held a marathon round of meetings starting 1pm on Tuesday till about 5.30 am on Wednesday.
“We have no organisation at the grassroots level. But we have to go to polls with the present organisation. We have had a jumbo-sized Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee of over 500 members. We need to trim the size. I know how to do it and I will do it,” a party leader quoted Priyanka as saying at a meeting with workers in Lucknow.
Along with Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Congress general secretary in charge of west Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka announced an alliance on Wednesday evening with Mahan Dal, a political outfit claiming support among some backward classes in select pockets of central and west Uttar Pradesh. The tie-up is the first announced by the duo, who have been sent by Congress president Rahul Gandhi on a mission to improve the party performance in the summer Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP had formed similar alliances with smaller parties, like the Apna Dal, for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. It had tied up with the Apna Dal and the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) for the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections.
Both Priyanka and Scindia welcomed Mahan Dal chief Keshav Dev Maurya at the UPCC headquarters. Maurya said his party would work with the Congress for the 2019 general elections. He will hold a rally with Scindia in Moradabad on February 24.
Priyanka said, “I welcome Mauryaji. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has given us a target of working for politics that gives representation to all classes and communities of society. This is an attempt towards realising this goal. We want to strengthen this further so we can fight the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with all our might and we will fight the poll with full force now.”
Scindia said, “Mahan Dal will work with us for formation of a government at the Centre that will work for the people.”
The Congress had aligned with the Mahan Dal in the 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections too. After the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced a tie-up for the general elections, Congress leaders had said the party would contest all 80 seats, though an alliance with smaller parties was not ruled out.
The Congress move has not come as a surprise to political observers, who feel the party may take more such steps to give the BJP a tough fight.
SK Dwivedi, former head of the department of political science, Lucknow University, said, “The Congress’s main objective is to defeat the BJP in the 2019 LS polls. Besides bringing smaller parties together, the Congress is also going soft on the SP-BSP alliance. Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s statement that he respects SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati reflects this. The party may explore the option of having an understanding with SP and BSP too.”