Priyanka Gandhi
Priyanka Gandhi
File Photo

Lucknow: Ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, congress general secretary and in charge of state, Priyanka Gandhi has started the exercise of finding winnable candidates. While on one hand, she has been targeting union as well as state government over handling of pandemic with her `Zimmedar Kaun’ campaign, on the other the search for suitable candidates for assembly polls in on.

Priyanka Gandhi has recently spoken to the president of all the 75 districts over telephone and asked them to provide at least five names of candidates who can perform better in the coming assembly elections. According to state congress leaders, over four dozen candidates have already been given go-ahead signals. These candidates are either sitting member of assembly or have performed well in the previous elections. To make the presence of congress felt at ground level the party has formed block level committees after a long time. The party has almost finalized Nyay panchayat level committee and it would be announced very soon.

According to a senior congress leader, prominent candidates whose name have been cleared so far are Aradhana Mishra Mona from Pratapgarh, state president Ajay Kumar Lallu from Kushinagar district, Suhel Ansari, Kanpur, Naresh Saini and Imran Masood from Saharanpur, Pankaj Malik from Muzaffarnagar, Virendra Chaoudhury from Gorakhpur, Pradeep Jain Aditya from Jhansi, Dhirendra Pratap Singh Dhiru from Utraula and few others.

In the recently held by elections for seven assembly segments in U.P. congress has performed well with its candidates securing second position at two places. At many places, its candidates were ahead of Bahujan Samaj Party. A state congress leader working with Priyanka Gandhi said that party has performed to a satisfactory level in the panchayat elections also with more than 250 of its candidates winning. He said that congress polled more than one crore votes in the panchayat elections.

It is learnt that team Priyanka is working hard with the district and city units of party to find out winnable candidates besides strengthening the organization at the grass root level. The team comprising of young as well as experienced leaders had led a relief campaign during the second wave of covid in the state. According to a team member very soon extensive programmes would be launched to reach maximum people in the state.

Congress Open For Alliance

Besides starting process of the selection of winnable candidate, the party is also open for alliance in U.P. few small parties have been approached so far and a team of state congress has been deployed to explore such opportunities. Congress had contested previous assembly polls in 2017 in alliance with Samajwadi Party and in the year 1996, it had forged alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party. Congress had an alliance with a faction of Apna Dal and Jan Adhikar Party in the 2019 parliament elections. A senior congress leader though did not rule out alliance with any of the opposition party but said that it is all prepared to contest on 403 assembly seats.

Worst Is Over, Now Only Gain

For the congress in U.P. 2017, assembly polls were the worst in terms of results. For the first time ever since independence, its number in the state assembly reached to single digit. Only seven of its legislators could reach assembly as against 125 seats it had contested. Earlier in 2012-assembly election, congress could win 28 seats in U.P. According to a senior congress leader, the worst phase for the party is over and now is the time to gain. He said that with Priyanka Gandhi taking charge of state and ground level work, congress would surprise many in the forthcoming assembly elections.

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