After an initial rush of adrenalin, the Congress is back to being adrift in Uttar Pradesh.
The party, since the past one month, is limping alone after being battered by Prashant Kishor’s meetings with Samajwadi Party leaders and talks of an alliance. The Rahul Sandesh Yatras have either been stalled or have slowed down due to demonetisation. The Dalit yatras that were scheduled to kick off earlier this month have been re-scheduled for next month. “The Congress, after the initial frenzy and excitement, is now in a state of inertia. The euphoria generated after the appointment of Raj Babbar as UPCC chief, the road show by Rahul Gandhi and then the road show by Sonia Gandhi has ebbed and Congress activity in Uttar Pradesh is negligible,” said a UPCC office bearer sitting at the almost deserted party office. Sources said that UPCC chief Raj Babbar’s prolonged absence from Lucknow has led to despair among partymen. “Since the past four months, scores of party workers were coming in from various districts to meet Babbar, but had to return disappointed. Now they have simply stopped coming,” the UPCC leader said. A Babbar aide said that the UPCC president could not be blamed for being away from Lucknow. “The party high command is holding meetings almost every day in Delhi and Raj Babbar is required to be present there. This is something which cannot be avoided, but it is definitely working against the party,” the aide admitted.
The Congress has apparently being stung rather deeply by Prashant Kishor’s flirtations with the Samajwadi Party which sent confusing signals to the party workers. “At least half a dozen leaders who wanted a Congress ticket have already crossed over to the BJP because of reports of an alliance with the Samajwadi Party. This one episode has done more harm than good to the party and the insult that Congressmen suffered after Mulayam Singh Yadav ruled out an alliance added salt to the injury,” said a senior party leader.
Congressmen in Uttar Pradesh feel that with just about three months left for the elections, senior party office bearers should remain at ground zero and interact with party workers to boost their morale.
“A long distance marriage will not let the party survive. The Congress cannot revive itself in UP by holding meetings in Delhi. State leaders should remain in the state and meet those who are suffering due to demonetisation. Others can hold aloft banners in Parliament, but someone is needed in UP too,” the veteran leader said.
A former UPCC president felt that the party was throwing away the advantages it had garnered four months ago by staying away from the place of action.