AICC general secretary is keen to woo backward class voters in UP.
New Delhi: AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may have focused her attention on Uttar Pradesh, but the question is whether her experiments in the largest Hindi heartland state will be yielding positive results for the Congress.
The question assumes significance because Uttar Pradesh has come into full election mode after 18 March. Political analysts are not still seeing Congress in the fight in UP. The main fight is being seen between SP and BJP as of today, with the latter being on top position politically. But Congress is not even in the scene. The grand old party continues to be as weak as it was in 2017. However, Congress leaders think otherwise. They claim that Congress will spring a surprise in the UP Assembly elections. The reason is Priyanka Vadra’s hard work on the ground. Vadra, according to party leaders, consolidated Congress’ position down to booth level. UP is said to be the only state where organizational level work has been completed by Congress.
Several programmes are being organized by the Congress to reach out to the voters in UP. As part of it, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is holding rallies. She will be holding dialogues with panchayats. In fact, before joining active politics, Priyanka Vadra had played the role of key strategist in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. But what happened was that Congress started declining from that period onwards. Her experiments came a cropper. Similarly, her experiment in assembly polls of UP in 2017 could not be successful with Congress getting reduced to just seven seats. It was then that the fight between old guards and young leaders got intensified. Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was in-charge of Congress in UP then, and Sheila Dikshit, who was the face of the party in the state, were both against the idea of SP-Congress alliance. But alliance between both the parties happened after Priyanka Vadra insisted on this experiment.
After the defeat of the Congress, Priyanka Vadra got into active politics. An experiment was again done in UP. Priyanka Vadra was given the charge of eastern UP, while Jyotiradiya Scindia was given the western and other parts of the state. But this experiment failed too.
Congress fell upon worse days when Rahul Gandhi himself lost his seat in UP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Only Sonia Gandhi could save her seat. Congress is still reeling under the crisis resulting from several such miserable electoral performances. After the resignation of Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi continues to be the interim party chief. Scindia has left the party.
After the 2019 debacle, Priyanka Vadra has taken over the charge of the entire UP. Dheeraj Shrivastava, who was working as her personal secretary earlier, was removed and Sandeep Singh was brought in.
Priyanka Vadra continued her political experiments in UP. Ajay Singh Lallu was given the responsibility of the state and a new team was constituted. New faces were brought in at different levels. There is no denying that Priyanka Vadra is more active in UP. She reaches the place where any incident takes place. Her presence like this has charged the workers. Priyanka Vadra has got around 9,000 nyaya panchayats constituted. Even nyay panchayat consists of 5 to 10 gram sabhas. New appointments have been made at district, block, nyay panchayat, gram panchayat and booth levels.
The AICC secretary in charge Dheeraj Gurjar says 10,000 workers will have been appointed at every booth by 15 August. There are 1.60 lakh booths in UP. The party will have data of every booth worker. Priyanka Vadra has so far appointed 15,000 office-bearers. Dheeraj has claimed that Priyanka Vadra’s work will bring surprising results after elections.
The level of Priyanka Vadra’s involvement can be gauged from the fact that she extended helping hands to the fishermen after police atrocities on them. In order to strengthen hold on Nishad and backward class, she flagged off ‘Nadi Yatra’ from Baswar village of Prayagraj (Allahabad) from 1 March. The yatra will conclude by the end of this month in Ballia. Priyanka is eyeing the backward class votes. Priyanka Vadra will hold a rally in Baghpat on 25 March, and will then visit central and eastern parts of UP.
She will be holding meetings with office-bearers at block, panchayat and district levels. Priyanka Vadra is trying her best to revive the party in the state but it does seem to be making much impact in the absence of a strong leadership in UP. Political observers feel that if Priyanka Vadra continues to camp in UP, leading from the front, then there will be a possibility of the party getting strengthened.