There has been an exodus of established and ground level leaders in the past two years, and this has impacted the party.
NEW DELHI: The Congress in Uttar Pradesh is struggling to find a suitable chief who can lead the state cadre. Six months ago, after the debacle in legislative elections, the party had sought resignation from its then party president Ajay Kumar Lallu. Since then, several names have been doing the rounds in party circles, but the high command has been unable to close in on a particular leader.
A party leader whose name is being considered for the state unit president’s post said; “In a big state like UP, for six months, the party cadre has not had a president, which is not a good thing at all, and whatever the problem there is between leaders, the top leadership should sort it out as soon as possible.”
In UP the party wants to appoint a bold leader who can show capacity to lead the unit effectively. Sources privy to developments in the party said that the present situation of high command being unable to choose a leader is because of the exodus of established leaders as well as ground level leaders in the recent two years, which has impacted the party. “The ground level leaders who left the party created disorder in our ground level politics and the leaving of top leaders left the cadre demotivated,” a senior Congress leader said.
In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, when Rahul Gandhi lost his seat to Smriti Irani, it had set a bad precedent. According to leaders, the party, after that loss, did not do much to fight the negative voters’ perception. “And leaders within the party, who saw its internal structure in tatters, also started finding ways to shun the grand old party,” a party leader said. Sources said that those who left did harm the party, but those who are still in the party are unable to set a conscious goal of winning. There are still many people associated with the party, but they are unable to work as one.
“That is because there are so many leaders doing their own thing. We are not working as a unit,” a party leader said.
According to a senior Congress leader, the party wants to choose someone who can realign the whole cadre, bring peace among its leaders, bring the cadre together and set a strong target of winning considerable seats in the coming Lok Sabha elections, “but the high command is facing decision-fatigue”, he said.
Moreover, many of the struggles, as many leaders in the party describe, come from the Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s personal secretary, Sandeep Singh, and Congress UP co-incharge Dheeraj Gurjar.
“They were responsible for the poor performance of 2022 Assembly elections, they don’t let party leaders meet Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Therefore, there is a wave of mistrust, for most of the cadre is against them. In addition to that, some leaders who were chosen as a possible choice for the president’s post are reluctant to work with Singh and Gurjar,” a senior Congress leader said. Party leaders also indicated that over 80% of party cadre is against the two leaders.
However, Rajesh Mishra, whose name is also doing the rounds for the state unit president’s post, said, “I don’t think there is any problem in the party because of the Singh and Gurjar, those who speak against them could have personal differences with them, for those who want to work will want to revive the party and keep the differences aside.”