From Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: Congress high command is looking for a young and charismatic face to head state Congress Committee after poor performance of the party in recently concluded assembly polls. Now Congress is focusing on Mission 2014 for Lok Sabha polls.
It would be worth mentioning here that Union Defence Minister A K Antony is also heading a committee to look into the main causes for poor performance of party in UP Assembly polls.
Congress sources informed that the announcement about new president and CLP leader would be made after Antony committee submits report to party high command.
Although party high command has sounded several union ministers from UP to take the charge of the president of the party in the state, many have politely declined the offer.
Union ministers do not want to relinquish the charge of the ministry to take over one of most difficult task.
According to informed sources, the union ministers do not want to quit from the ministry as only two years are left for Lok Sabha polls.
Meanwhile UPCC President Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who has also become MLA from Lucknow as well as CLP leader Pramod Tewari are lobbying to retain their posts.
Unhappy with their performances, the party high command wants to bring new faces for both the posts.
It would be worth mentioning here that Congress high command had called a meeting of 150 leaders from UP including all those candidates who had got more than 20,000 votes in recent assembly polls.
During brainstorming session which was attended by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, leaders from UP pointed out lack of support from party organization, irresponsible statements from Union Ministers and other important functionaries and poor selection of candidates among the factors responsible for the debacle.
However Rita Bahuguna Joshi as UPCC President had made efforts during last five years to connect with party workers and never compromised on the issue of self respect.
So much so, when she took up the case of atrocities on harijan women, her house in Lucknow was set on fire.
The irresponsible statements from several Union Ministers like Salman Khurshid who said that Sonia cried after seeing Batla House encounters pictures, angered a good section of the voters.
Another Minister Beni Prasad Verma also made very damaging statements and dared Election Commission to take action against him.
Similarly Union Minister for Steel, Mr Sri Prakash Jaiswal also damaged party chances by saying that if Congress was not voted to power, then UPA government would impose President’s rule in the state.
As if this was not enough, Sri Prakash Jaiswal again said Rahul could take oath of the office of prime minister even in the midnight if he so desired.
The statements from AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, who is incharge of UP affairs, also caused more harm to party.
The poor selection of candidates was also pointed out by the leaders during brain storming session. Party high command was informed that for the first time so many backward community candidates were given tickets and not many could make to UP Assembly.
It was also pointed out that backwards had never been part of traditional vote bank of Congress consisting of Brahmins, dalits and Muslims. The traditional vote bank of Congress was annoyed with party high command depriving adequate number of tickets during the polls.
The meeting of district and city presidents was also convened in state capital and they made appeal to party high command that they should also be given opportunity to speak their mind about what went wrong during the elections.
At a time when people feel that Rahul Gandhi charisma is on the wane, party high command is finding difficult to get suitable persons for UPCC president and CLP leader. (IPA)