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Mission UP: Priyanka hunts for winnable candidates

12:44 AM Jun 14, 2021 | Rashmi Sharma

Rashmi Sharma

Lucknow

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Ahead of the next year’s assembly poll in Uttar Pradesh, Congress general secretary and in charge of the state Priyanka Gandhi has begun a search for winnable candidates. On the one hand, she has been targeting the Union as well as the state governments over the mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic with her ‘Zimmedar Kaun’ campaign, on the other, she’s launched a hunt for suitable candidates for the upcoming poll.

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Priyanka recently phoned the presidents of all the 75 districts, seeking at least 5 names of candidates, who can perform better in the poll. According to leaders in the state Congress unit, more than 50 candidates have already been given a green signal. These candidates are either former legislators or have performed well in the previous elections. To make its presence felt, the Congress has formed block-level committees after a long time. It has almost finalised Nyay panchayat level committee, which would be announced soon.

A senior leader said prominent candidates whose name have been cleared so far are Aradhana Mishra Mona (Pratapgarh), state president Ajay Kumar Lallu (Kushinagar), Suhel Ansari (Kanpur), Naresh Saini and Imran Masood (Saharanpur), Pankaj Malik (Muzaffarnagar), Virendra Chaudhury (Gorakhpur), and Pradeep Jain Aditya (Jhansi), among others.

In the recent bypolls for the 7 assembly segments in UP, the Congress has performed well with candidates securing second position at 2 places. At many places, its candidates were ahead of Bahujan Samaj Party. A state Congress leader working with Priyanka said the party’s performance was satisfactory in the panchayat elections also with more than 250 candidates registering a thumping victory, with the party getting over a crore votes.

It is learnt the Team Priyanka is working hard to find out winnable candidates in every district and city unit, besides strengthening the organisation at the grassroots level. The team comprises youths as well as experienced leaders. @RashmiS40828851

Open to alliance

Besides starting a selection process of winnable candidate, the Congress is also open to alliance in UP. Smaller parties have been approached and a team of state party unti has been deployed to explore opportunities. Congress had contested 2017 assembly poll in alliance with SP, and in 1996, it had forged an alliance with BSP. Congress had an alliance with a faction of Apna Dal and Jan Adhikar Party in the 2019 general election. A senior party leader though did not rule out alliance with any of the opposition party, but said it is prepared to contest all the 403 Assembly seats.

Worst is over!

For the Congress in UP 2017, assembly poll was the worst in terms of results. For the first time ever since independence, its number in the state assembly fell to a single digit. Only 7 of its legislators could enter the house as against 125 seats it contested. Earlier in 2012 poll, it could win 28 seats. A Congress leader said, the worst is over for the party, and now is the time to gain. With Priyanka taking charge, Congress would surprise many in the upcoming assembly election.

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