‘Make Priyanka CM candidate for 2022 UP polls,’ Cong workers tell party

Congress workers on Wednesday demanded that the party declare its general secretary for east UP, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as its chief ministerial candidate for the 2022 assembly election in Uttar Pradesh.

They made the demand at a meeting with Priyanka held here to review the Lok Sabha poll performance and seek feedback to draw a road map for the future. The Congress won only one Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh – Rae Bareli from where Sonia Gandhi contested.

The party workers also suggested that the Congress should stay away from any alliance for the 2022 polls and strongly fight the bye-elections to 12 assembly seats.

These seats have fallen vacant following the election of 11 MLAs as MPs and disqualification of BJP MLA from Hamirpur Ashok Chandel.

“Yes, we have requested Priyankaji to be chief ministerial candidate and the Congress will have its own government in the state in 2022,” said senior party leader and former Varanasi MP Rajesh Mishra.

Priyanka, who held separate closed-door meetings with candidates, district and city unit office bearers and coordinators, did not comment on the demand. But the party leaders were hopeful that she would accept their demand.

Also read: Lok Sabha elections 2019: UP Congress favours 4 divisions of state

While a weak organisation was considered to be main reason for the party’s poor performance in the 2019 polls by candidates, the organisation leaders blamed weak candidates on some seats as the reason for the debacle.

Emphasis was also laid on delay in selection of candidates as there was uncertainty over an alliance before the polls.

The party leaders urged Priyanka to ensure that the candidates are selected well in time to ensure that the party’s message reached people everywhere.

“We need to revamp and rebuild the organisation to ensure the party’s presence at all levels and strongly fight the bye-election to 12 assembly seats,” said Mishra.

As the bye-election to 12 assembly seats will be held soon, Priyanka asked senior party leaders to volunteer to step up preparations. “Priyankaji has finalised names of leaders for six out of 12 seats that fall in her charge as general secretary for east UP. These leaders will be made in charges of assembly constituencies to steer the party’s preparations for the by-election. District and city party units having assembly constituencies going to the by-polls have been asked to send a panel of three candidates for each seat,” said Mishra.

Others who attended the meeting said Priyanka gave clear indications of overhauling the state party organisation in the coming days.

“We are sure a new party organisational structure will be put in place after June 14 when Congress general secretary for west UP Jyotiraditya Scindia will review the party’s performance in west UP in 2019 polls. Hope the changes will begin on June 15,” said another senior party leader.

“I never imagined this. I was nearly winning the election. But the BJP polarised the poll atmosphere and alliance gained strength under the changed scenario,” said former SP MP and Congress’s Fatehpur candidate Rakesh Sachan who had joined the Congress leaving the Samajwadi Party before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Amethi District Congress Committee president Yogendra Mishra said he handed over a report to Priyanka listing reasons for party president Rahul Gandhi’s defeat in Amethi.

Although UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi did not attend review meetings, she later hosted a dinner to thank partymen and the people of Rae Bareli.

First Published:
Jun 12, 2019 22:11 IST

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