By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: State Congress president Raj Babbar MP has prepared a road map for the party to launch agitations to highlight people’s problems across the state.
At a time when the main opposition parties BSP and Samajwadi Party are busy with their membership drive and consolidating the organization, Raj Babbar is reaching out to people at the grassroot level. Encouraged by the success of the programme, he is also involving other senior leaders to identify the issues and plan agitations.
Raj Babbar was the first opposition leader to reach Gorakhpur and visit the BRD Medical College where more than 70 children died due to shortage of oxygen. He also visited the homes of the victims and assured them of all possible help from the party.
He had got hurt in the police action in Ambedkar Nagar where he joined the farmers protesting against the alleged demolition of their houses for road construction without being paid adequate compensation. The issue was raised by Congress MP Pramod Tewari in Rajya Sabha also. Raaj Babbar, in fact, succeeded in forcing the authorities to stop the work and obtained a promise from the authorities that adequate compensation would be provided. After Gorakhpur, a similar strategy took place in Farukhabad where too babies died due to lack of oxygen. Raj Babbar rushed to the scene and staged a dharna with party workers.
Raj Babbar told this correspondent that he was adopting a Gandhian approach to the agitation where bhajans such as Raghupati Raghav Rajaram are being sung. He claimed that the approach was getting good response from the public.
As part of the plan, senior leaders are being given the responsibility of various districts where they would organise people’s struggles to bring issues to the attention of the higher authorities. Babbar said he was happy with the response from these leaders.
Former union minister Jatin Prasad organised a meeting in Lakhimpur Kheri to take up the issue of the assault on harijans, where the turnout was huge. After the meeting he led a delegation to the government and sought intervention to ensure justice to the harijans.
Raj Babbar believes that the party should take up issues of the common man and solve them so that it can regain the confidence of the masses, which will help the party do better in the elections.
Under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and Raj Babbar, the party had taken up the farmers issue through khaat yatras before the assembly polls. Rahul Gandhi covered 2,500 kms and visited 233 assembly constituencies, interacting with farmers. It appeared that Congress would gain tremendously because of these yatras, but lost the advantage due to the party joining the poll alliance. Raj Babbar was opposed to joining hands with the Samajwadi Party but it was strategy consultant Prashant Kishore who forced the alliance.
With the anti-incumbency factor working against the Akhilesh Yadav government, the fortunes of the Congress were badly affected, and its performance was reduced to only seven seats. Raj Babbar is hoping that with his new drive, the party will be able to regain some of the lost ground. (IPA Service)