By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, with her aggressive posturing and fighting spirit, has succeeded in making her party the main opposition in Uttar Pradesh. Her ground level work during the pandemic has reaped dividends in raising the party morale as well as the poll prospects in the next Assembly elections due in 2022.
Taking on the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in UP, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has frontlined raging issues of the day, while also managing to move the much harassed doctor, Kafeel Khan, out of UP to Congress-ruled Rajasthan, thus garnering praises from many. Priyanka has succeeded in mobilising every Congress hand in UP, from senior leaders to grassroot workers, persuading them to hit the roads confronting the government and administration involving people’s problems.
No other party has been seen on the roads fighting for migrant labourers, farmers as well as the minorities during the last six months, as Congress has been doing under the guidance of Priyanka Gandhi.
Significantly enough, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, through her tweets, statements and video conferencing, was in constant with the state leadership and the grassroot workers.
Congress is on the one hand fighting for the rights of migrant labourers, farmers, Dalits and minorities, economically left behind and politically hounded in Uttar Pradesh, while on the other, also vying for Brahmins support, who feel persecuted under the reign of a Thakur, CM Yogi Adityanath.
Under the leadership of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the combination of State President Ajay Kumar Lalloo, MLA, and CLP leader Aradhna Mishra have been resorting to dharna every now and then, whether inside Vidhan Sabha or outside, taking up pressing issues of farmers, Dalits, migrant labourers and raising voice on the urgent matter of exponentially rising crimes against women in India’s most populous state.
The outreach of the state president Ajay Kumar Lalloo is phenomenal as no other former president was as mobile and on the ground as he happens to be.Lalloo is now known for either courting arrest, or being detained by the administration upon reach the spot.
Ajay Kumar Lalloo does not hesitate to take even the odd bicycle or motorcycle to reach the sites of agitation, thus hoodwinking the local authorities expecting a cavalcade of SUVs for the MLA.
Though Priyanka is the face for UP, a majority of Congress leaders want either her or her brother Rahul Gandhi, to take up the responsibility of the AICC president.
There is clear understanding among Congress leaders and voters that the elections can only be fought with the face of the Nehru-Gandhi family and it is immaterial whether any other leader is included in any committee or not.
Dumping of leaders like former ministers Jitin Prasada or RPN Singh, who were among the 23 signatories to controversial letter to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, is not expected to make any difference to the party’s fortune in the next assembly polls.
Congress workers feel that the 23 signatories had lost successive elections in the past — whether in the assembly or in Lok Sabha —and were made CWC members merely due to their proximity to the Gandhi family. More so, these 23 leaders are said to have almost no connect with the grassroot workers and the general masses. They won the elections when there was upswing in favour of the Gandhi family.
Even though Jitin Prasada faced the wrath of party workers in Lakhimpur Kheri, who passed resolution to remove him from the party after he signed the letter, was rehabilitated into the party and given importance, despite his father, the late Jitendra Prasad contesting election against Mrs. Sonia Gandhi for the post of AICC national president. Gandhi family not only gave Lok Sabha ticket to his mother, but also rehabilitated him and made him a union minister.
During last few months, he tried to establish himself as a Brahmin leader, when he started the Brahmin Chetna Samvad Yatra and took up the issue of Parasuram to play the soft Hindutva card.
Similarly, RPN Singh was also given importance by the Gandhi family, but he miserably failed to connect with the people and lost elections with no influence over the voters in his area in eastern UP.
Former UPCC president Nirmal Khattri recently exposed in an open letter as to how, Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and prominent signatory to the controversial letter to Sonia Gandhi, was in a way responsible for the decline of Congress when he was the AICC in-charge of UP.
It is a known fact that whenever Gulam Nabi Azad was in-charge of Congress in UP, the performance of party was miserable, as he completely failed to enthuse party leaders and connect with grassroot workers.
Veteran political commentator Dr Ramesh Dixit feels that Rahul Gandhi should become AICC President and implement the points raised by the letter to Sonia Gandhi as that would be good for the party irrespective of whether signatories are given importance or not.