Trouble mounts for congress committee in UP, senior leaders resign
Senior Congress leaders in Uttar Pradesh have decided to part ways from the party even before the newly appointed UPCC President Ajay Kumar Lallu took charge of the office.
MP Rajesh Mishra, a former Congress MP from Varanasi, also backed out from serving as the part of the advisory council, stating that he is not in a position to provide advice to Priyanka Gandhi.
The move comes days after senior leader Salman Khurshid suggested that Rahul Gandhi should have continued as the Congress President.
"Despite our request, Rahul Gandhiji stepped down. Many people requested him to continue but he chose to step down. This was his decision and we should respect it," said Khurshid.
According to sources, Rajesh Mishra, few among the Brahmin faces in Congress are upset at Ajay Kumar Lallu, a comparative newcomer, being appointed as UPCC president.
A source close to Mishra said, "It was Ajay Kumar Lallu who played a key role in deciding Lok Sabha tickets because of his proximity with Priyanka. He also finalized the recent by-poll ticket for Hamirpur and should be made accountable for the results."
On the other hand, former Congress MLC Siraj Mehndi resigned from the membership of both the AICC and PCC, expressing disappointment over the new Congress committee for the fact that the Shia community had not been given any representation in the new committee.
He wrote a two-page letter and expressed, "The BJP has made a minister (Mohsin Raza) from the Shia community, while Bhukkal Nawab, also a Shia, had been made member of the legislative council. Another Shia leader Gairul Hasan Rizvi is chairman of the minority commission."
"The Congress has completely ignored the Shia community that voted in large numbers for Acharya Pramod Krishnam, the Congress candidate from Lucknow in recent Lok Sabha elections," he said.
Mehndi has also objected to party leaders over 50 years being denied a place in the committee.
"Those above 50 years are the ones who participated in the freedom struggle. The ones who are turncoats have been given prominence which is bound to upset the dedicated party workers," he said.
Meanwhile, party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be visiting Lucknow where she has called a meeting of all the newly-appointed office bearers.
Priyanka, who is Congress General Secretary in-charge of eastern UP, will reach the state capital of Uttar Pradesh on October 14 and will be camping there for two days. She has called the meeting of the advisory council as well.
She will take feedback from the new office bearers and assign work to new entrants in the organisation, said a source.
On Monday, the Congress appointed Ajay Kumar Lallu as state President. The party also appointed 4 Vice Presidents and 12 General Secretaries in the state.
The party claimed that the new committee has representation from all sections of society. But OBCs have been given preference. The OBCs have been given a major chunk with 45 per cent, Dalits have been given 20 per cent and 15 per cent Muslims have been adjusted in the committee.
However, there is disenchantment within the Congress, with some leaders saying that committed partymen have been ignored information of the committee.
A senior leader said on condition of anonymity that with Priyanka in charge, the party is bound to get some traction but converting it into votes is not possible as in the OBC segment, the major players are SP and BJP.
Apart from them, Anupriya Patel-led Apna Dal and Suhaildev Samaj Party are also vying for this vote base.
BJP has already made Swantantra Dev Singh, an OBC Kurmi, as state President.
The outsiders to join the Congress have been drafted in organisational roles, which has also irked a section of the leadership.
In the last Lok Sabha elections, the Congress recorded its worst performance in Uttar Pradesh, with even Rahul Gandhi, then party President, losing his family pocket borough seat of Amethi. Only Sonia Gandhi could manage to win in Rae Bareli.
In the last Assembly elections in 2017, the party had aligned with Samajwadi Party, despite which it lost badly.
(With agency inputs.)