First priority is to change people's perception of party: New UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu

Lucknow: In his first reaction after being appointed as the Uttar Pradesh chief of the Congress, Ajay Kumar Lallu said his prime priority would be to change people's perception of the party by taking up issues concerning the common man.

"It would be my first priority to change people's perception of the party for which issues related to people will be raised in an effective manner both inside the Assembly as well as on the roads," he told PTI soon after announcement of his appointment. He thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and said he would strive to take along all partymen to strengthen it in the state, where it has been relegated to the margins by the BJP.

AICC Monday night announced Ajay as the new UPCC President and made Aradhana Misra 'Mona' as the leader of Congress Legislature Party, in his place. AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal, in a press release, also said 12 general secretaries and 24 secretaries were appointed too for the state. Besides, an 18-member Advisory Council to general secretary and eight-member working group on strategy and planning, comprising senior leaders, has also been set up.

Lallu, a Vaishya by caste, represents Tamkuhi Raj Assembly constituency in Kushinagar while Aradhana Misra, a Brahmin, represents Rampur Khas seat of Pratapgarh. Aradhana Misra is daughter of senior leader and former MP Pramod Tewari. The new UPCC, having a younger look, has been handpicked by Priyanka Gandhi giving preference to leaders who had been working relentlessly at the grassroots level and were prominently seen in her programmes in the recent past, party insiders said.

The new committee is much smaller than the previous one which had 500 members, they said, adding 45 per cent representation has been given to people from the backward communities, 20 per cent to Dalits, 15 per cent to Muslims and 20 per cent to upper castes. Women have also got due representation, they added.

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