New Delhi: The Congress finds itself lagging behind in the poll race in Uttar Pradesh with less than three months for the Assembly elections to be announced. The party is not being able to get its act together. General secretary incharge Priyanka Gandhi was abroad last month, then she was in Shimla with her mother and brother. This month, three of her public engagements in UP either had to be cancelled or rescheduled.
Her proposed public rally in Meerut in Western UP on September 29 has been cancelled. Her public meeting in Varanasi on October 2 has been rescheduled, while her public rally in Agra on October 7 has been cancelled. The selection of Meerut for her rally was done keeping in mind the fact that Western UP is the epicentre of the farmer agitation.
Meanwhile, local leaders in Varanasi claim that now a rally in the city is expected on October 9. The district and the city Congress have been making preparations for the event if it happens. A rally is also being planned in the constituency of the UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath. In the last one year, visits of Priyanka Gandhi are very few. There have only been online conversations with party workers. The fits and start interventions of the Gandhi scion in the state have troubled many in the state Congress but nobody is speaking out. Many leaders have either moved on to look for greener pastures or have resigned themselves to the fate of the party.
Last week, Lalitesh Pati Tripathi, vice-president of Congress' Uttar Pradesh unit and great grandson of former chief minister Kamlapati Tripathi, resigned from all posts and primary membership of the party. He was a key figure in the rallies and programmes of Priyanka Gandhi in the campaign in Uttar Pradesh leading up to the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Earlier, Jitin Prasada, former union minister, had also left the Congress to join the BJP. Both these leaders were Brahmin faces of the Congress in a state where caste matters.
As of now, the Congress is not in alliance with any major party in the state. In previous elections, the party contested in alliance with the Samajwadi Party. This time, the party plans to go solo but last minute alliances cannot be ruled. Hence, the candidates on all 400 seats are jittery about openly campaigning as some fear that there can be a last minute alignment, arrangement or an alliance. Presently, the Congress is in no position to create any ripples in the state as the organisation is struggling with no clear leadership.