Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has visited Uttar Pradesh only twice this year, is set to lead Congress in 2022 assembly election. The SP has rejected possibilities of an alliance, and the Congress is set to do it alone in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress party will contest the next Uttar Pradesh Assembly election in 2022 alone and party’s general secretary in-charge of the state Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will lead the campaign. This comes after Samajwadi Party chief Akhiles Yadav rejected the possibility of an alliance with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh for the next assembly polls.
Sources told India Today that the Congress party is preparing to fight 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election under the leadership of Priyanka Gandhi. She is likely to begin a camp in Lucknow as part of the Congress’s preparation for the UP election due in less than 18 months.
The decision of the Congress party to go solo in Uttar Pradesh is huge as the party did not fare well in the just-concluded assembly bypolls on seven seats. The Congress contested six but failed to win a single seat. The good news for the party, however, was that it finished second on two seats. The BJP won six and the SP got the other, Malhani seat.
Priyanka Gandhi did not campaign in any of the constituencies that went to the bypolls. This was in sharp contrast to the BJP’s strategy as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigned for the party candidates in every constituency.
Interestingly, Priyanka Gandhi has not visited the party’s state headquarters in Lucknow since December 2019. She has visited the state only twice during the period — once in February to see workers injured in demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Azamgarh and in October, when she visited Hathras, where a Dalit woman was allegedly gangraped and murdered.
The Congress had contested the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election in alliance with the SP of Akhilesh Yadav, the former UP chief minister. However, Akhilesh Yadav has rejected the possibility of an alliance with the “big parties” such as the Congress.
At a press conference, Akhilesh Yadav said, “Adjustment will be done with small parties, but there will be no alliance with big parties.”
Akhilesh Yadav did not name any party but it was clear that he pointed to parties such the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of former UP Chief Minister Mayawati. The SP had recently had tie-up with both the parties but failed to get traction for the alliance in general election and bypolls.
Speaking to India Today, SP leader Juhie Singh said the party has experienced loss in last elections, and alliance with the Congress has not benefited the party. The SP will do alliance only with smaller parties in UP, she said.
Talking about the performance of the by-election, UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu said even though the party has not got any seats, its vote share has increased. Lallu said the Congress finished second on two seats, where BSP came third.
He said the Congress is giving competition, and will improve further in the assembly election. Of the six seats on which the party contested, it came second at Bangarmau and Ghatampur. Lallu said the party is going to develop its own ground and in 2022 assembly election, the Congress will fight on its own with no alliance with the SP or the BSP.
Talking about the relevance of the Congress for the 2022 Uttar Pradesh election, journalist and political analyst Sharad Pradhan said the party needs to take advantage of the time with more aggression and picking up people’s issues on ground.
Pradhan said Priyanka Gandhi will have to stop touring the state and start rather focus on party meetings, interact with the workers and take feedback from the ground. He also said Priyanka Gandhi has “great potential” to emerge prominently in the state’s politics which so far has not been properly utilized by the party top leadership.
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