By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: Priyanka Vadra Gandhi is the main face of Congress in Uttar Pradesh which is evident from the new executive announced recently. Ajay Kumar Lalloo who is serving second term as MLA from Tumkahiraj constituency in eastern UP, is the state President.
Priyanka is banking on comparatively young team with average age of 40 years to take on CM Yogi Adiyanath and BJP in the state. Surprisingly Priyanka is banking on backward dalits and Muslims with little space for upper castes to mobilise support for Congress for 2022 assembly polls. UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lalloo himself belongs to OBC while good representation has been given to most backward community in the team.
Unlike previous team of 500 members Priyanka selected only 40- member strong team of dedicated Congress leaders to prepare ground for 2022 assembly poll. The new team has four vice-presidents while 12 general secretaries and 24 secretaries. Priyanka has also picked up 18 members for the advisory council which would report directly to her. These members include MPs and former ministers with rich experience who would be expected to guide Priyanka Gandhi.
The study of team members indicates that only those who are grassroot workers with interests for street fight as was seen during agitations in Shahjahanpur, Sonbhadr and Unnao agitations on the issue of exploitation of women, were given accommodation. The team was picked up after brain stormy sessions by six teams of national secretaries in consultations and interviews with senior leaders and grassroot workers.
Unlike past traditions the new President came on bus from his constituency to take charge at UPCC headquarters. The only appeal which enthused the workers was from UPCC President Ajay Kumar Lalloo that his party would take roads to spread the message of the party. The party would not hesitate to face lathi charge from Yogi government.
The biggest challenge before the new team is to stop the exodus from party. There have been migration of senior leaders from party to BJP. The party got rude shock when Dr Sanjay Singh MP, Rakha Sabha and his wife Amita from Amethi left Congress and joined BJP.
Dr Sanjay Singh Scion of former ruling family of Amethi was a great support to Sanjay Gandhi and later on Rajiv Gandhi when they selected Amethi to enter Lok Sabha. During last Lok Sabha polls, Dr Sanjay Singh contested on Congress ticket from Sultanpur while his wife had contested from Amethi assembly seat but lost.
Similarly Ratna Singh former MP from Pratapgarh also joined BJP. Ratna Singh and her family has always been with Congress. Her father Dinesh Singh was foreign minister in cabinet of Indira Gandhi.
Aditi Singh MLA from Rae Bareli is all set to join BJP. Her family too was great supported the Gandhi family for past many decades.
Although Priyanka has decided to spend more time in Lucknow and has finalised her residence, but she faces biggest challenge to revive the party in UP where it ruled till 1989. (IPA Service)