The party may try to forge an alliance with the Samajwadi Party like in 2017 for a united opposition.
The Indian National Congress (INC) is making key organizational changes in Uttar Pradesh and may ally with the Samajwadi Party at the last moment in the 2022 Assembly poll which is a survival battle for the grand old party. Both parties have officially denied any possibility of an alliance, but sources privy to the poll preparation have not ruled out the possibility of a tie-up between the two at the last moment like the 2017 elections, for the sake of a united Opposition. “A tie-up is possible at the last moment for the sake of Opposition unity against the BJP, as division of votes will benefit the ruling dispensation,” a senior leader of INC based in Lucknow told The Sunday Guardian. Even in one of her informal interactions with the media, Congress national general-secretary in-charge of the state Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had said that she is open for an alliance. The grand old party has been out of power since the last 32 years in the politically crucial state which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha. The stakes for the party had risen as it had appointed Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to rebuild the party in the state. She is working closely with the state party leaders in order to strengthen the party base and has asked them to directly speak to her regarding constructive suggestions.
In 2016, the Congress had announced that former chief minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit, would be their chief minister candidate, but at the last moment forged an alliance with the SP. In the alliance, INC fought on 105 seats, while the SP contested 298 remaining seats.
Ajay Kumar Lallu, Uttar Pradesh Congress president, said: “The organizational elections for district congress committee (DCCs), block presidents, block committee were held. We had appointed 8,134 Nyay Panchayat members and in the next couple of days, the process of appointing 59,000 Gram Sabha Presidents would be complete. The party has been organising training camps for these grassroots level cadres. We are the real opposition in the state as 20,000 Congress workers are fighting against the unjust rule of the BJP on the streets, I myself was sent to jail thrice in the last one year for raising the issues of the common people. We are confident that the Congress will form its own government in the state; we will only do alliance with smaller parties.” The party has already constituted an election committee for Uttar Pradesh. The members of the committee include state unit chief Ajay Kumar Lallu, former central ministers Rajeev Shukla, R.P.N. Singh and Salman Khurshid, Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader in the Assembly Aradhana Mona Misra, former minister Pramod Tiwari and senior leader P.L. Punia. The Congress has also planned to hit the streets and raise the issues affecting people like the devastation caused by the second wave of Covid-19, unemployment and price rise etc. The party organised a “BJP gaddi chhodo” march last month on the occasion of August Kranti Diwas.
Many experts of Uttar Pradesh politics feel that the Congress may not be a force multiplier in any political alliance with the SP in the state as it cannot transfer votes to the alliance partner and lacks a dedicated vote bank. Vikas pathak, a senior journalist, said: “As of now, the Congress is not at all a force multiplier for any political alliance in the state, as it can’t transfer its votes to any Opposition political formation and lacks a dedicated vote bank. As far as Priyanka Gandhi Vadra being a trump card and her potential to revive the party in the state is concerned, it depends on her attitude. The Congress can only revive itself if Priyanka Gandhi Vadra declares that she is going to stay in Uttar Pradesh for the next 15 years and fight elections. Even if the Congress loses badly, they would have a chance in the next election. If she is ready to do it, then only the masses would feel that despite coming from a family of Prime Ministers, such is her love for UP, that she is fighting it out here. It may then generate a sympathy wave for her and the Congress.”