Lucknow: Sitting with farmers Morcha in Mirzapur on Thursday for land compensation, holding a protest against Sadhvi Pragya in Lucknow on Friday, joining the Rail Coach factory workers protest in Rai Bareli on Saturday, a party meet on Sunday and then a candle march in Lucknow over series of rapes and murders on Monday…Congress chief in Uttar Pradesh Ajay Kumar Lallu has his hands full.
Over the last fortnight, not a single day has passed by without a Congress morcha or Lallu and other Congress leaders' presence at public protests held by farmers, employees or the other aggrieved lot.
UP Congress' new found vigour is being credited to Maharashtra Congress, which has joined hands with Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party to come back to the power through the back door.
“There are positive vibes, no doubt, after Maharashtra's development. We have stopped BJP there with the help of other parties. Things are different in UP due to complex cast formations, but our objective is the same-- unseat the incompetent BJP government,” senior Congress leader Virendra Madan says adding that party has hit the ground since Lallu has taken over in October.
The more rooted and pro-poor Lallu is Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's choice. She handpicked this two-time legislator from Tamkuhi Raj (Kushinagar) in October this year as the first “non-elite” president in last two decades.
He had worked as construction worker in Noida after losing his first election as independent. His background gives him an edge over his own colleagues as well as Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
Lallu says, “As of now, my priority is to make Congress a powerful opposition by lending a voice to common citizens. We are holding Nukkad Sabha across the state and mobilizing NSUI and the Youth Congress to engage with youngsters.”
Critics are sceptical about Lallu's strategy. “Hardworking and grounded, Lallu is making his presence felt, much more than Akhilesh Yadav. However, he has mostly worked like an NGO man so far. Sitting at Dharnas in Lucknow can win headlines.
But to strengthen party base, he should hold roadshows across the state to engage with people and attract the communities which have drifted to other parties over the years,” says Ramesh Dixit, political analyst.