New Delhi: After the Congress failed to gather any sizeable support from women in the just-concluded Uttar Pradesh elections, the leaders in the party say that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s slogan was a waste as deserving women did not get tickets. Moreover, the party has been affected by prolonged discord between Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s team and grassroots leaders, where the latter are alleging a racket run by the team for “selling tickets”. Additionally, many women are also blaming the team of committing “disgraceful acts” against them. A source in the party said, “There is a ‘mahila andholan’ (women’s movement) developing within the party against all the vile people at the top in the party.” The party whose whole campaign revolved around Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s slogan “Ladki hun Ladsakhti hun” is now battling to keep its disheartened women with the party. A woman Congress leader said, “They (Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s team) killed our slogan.” The Sunday Guardian accessed some chats and also talked to a dozen party functionaries, including four former women office-bearers, in the party. The party leaders made serious allegations against Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s team, including Vidyut Chaudhary, Ombir Yadav, Sandeep Singh, Dhiraj Gujjar, Ajay Lallu, etc, and said that the grievances of women were impeded so that the complaints do not reach the Gandhis. According to the leaders, the team had pompously taken charge of everything and had dealt with party members in a high-handedness fashion, saying: “We are the wall in between, and nothing can go up directly to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra without passing through us.”
Rekha Sharma, a vice-president of a Zilla from Bulandshahr district, said, “In my district, there was no woman contestant except me, and the predicament is that they were not letting us meet Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, neither would they let any of our grievances reach her. My husband is in the army and they said, is there any martyr in your family; that is when they would have given me the ticket. I have been working in Congress since 2008. Ombir Yadav, Sandeep Singh, Dhiraj Gujar, Ajay Lalu, and more, are all responsible for the downfall of the party.”
Vimlesh Kumari, who left the Congress and contested on a Samajwadi Party ticket from Chandoury, said, “I have worked in Congress for last 17 years, there was no value to us in the party, I had given Congress 60,000 votes, but that was all run down by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s team. All of them were trying to protect each other to further their own motives; I left the party because it was not worth my dedication.”
Parul Choudhary, an expelled vice president of a zilla in Gautambudhnagar, said, “No complaints were dealt with seriously and that is the reason why Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s team was emboldened to further their injustice and that is why many people left the party. I have myself sent many emails to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, but her email was hijacked by her team. Then, I manually wrote 200 letters one after another and sent them to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, complaining about all the wicked things happening in the party, but there was no response.” Vandana Singh, the poster girl of Congress who later left the party and joined the BJP, said, “There was no importance given to old people in the party. Those people who were not even prepared for elections were given tickets.”
Akhilesh Pratap Singh, Congress spokesperson on UP, told The Sunday Guardian, “Media had a strange and unverified theory about Congress in UP. So much work was done in UP, who did that? Who fought the battles of women and gave the slogan ‘Mahila hun lad sakti hoon’? Nobody fought on the basis of uplifting the women other than Congress, whatever allegations are there are without any doubt coming without substance. We fought for four years on the roads of UP, was that discernible to anyone? Do you know how many times Priyanka Gandhi Vadra went to jail? How many times was she arrested? Who fought for the corona-affected people? Who fought for women? Congress tried to address all the grievances and fought for the people.”