With an eye on 2017 Assembly elections in the state, and taking lessons from its recent debacle, Congress Tuesday revamped district organisational set-up in Uttar Pradesh focusing on younger faces, Muslim-Brahmin caste combination and selecting large number of those who have contested elections in the recent past. While Rae Bareli, Amethi and Sultanpur have been left out of the process, recommendations of some of the MPs, who had performed badly in recent elections have been snubbed.
As AICC released names of 72 district presidents and 42 city presidents of UP Tuesday, sources inform that Gandhi family pocket borough Rae Bareli and Amethi along with neighbouring Sultanpur district have been left for Priyanka Gandhi to decide. “Last time, she had conducted the interviews and would decide this time as well. It is the tradition, selection in these districts is made by Gandhi family member or their representative,” said a senior party leader.
The selection of the remaining district and city heads has been made on the basis of reports of four AICC secretaries, who were made to travel in each district last month before suggesting names. Sources in the party inform that recommendations of former MPs especially former Union Ministers Beni Prasad Verma, Salman Khurshid, Sriprakash Jaiswal have been snubbed by the party in lieu of their poor performance in this year’s Lok Sabha elections.
“Young, loyal and someone who has faced election in the recent past and is liked by the large number of workers have been our focus, irrespective of the recommendations by known leaders.” said an AICC secretary involved in the process.
It is for this reason, party has appointed 36-year-old Gaurav Chaudhary, district president of Lucknow. Chaudhary. Chaudhary is an OBC, comes from youth Congress background and had contested 2012 Assembly election from Sarojani Nagar seat polling 22,000 votes.
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Similarly, 36-year-old Neetam Sachan, who had contested from Bhognipur has been made district Congress president of Kanpur Dehat.
Abhijeet Sanga,30, who had got about 51,000 votes from Bithoor in 2012, has been made Kanpur Nagar Gramin district president. In Kushinagar, party has chosen sitting MLA, 35-year-old Ajay Kumar ‘Laloo’. He had contested from Tamukhi Raj seat and had got over 50,000 votes.
Others, who had contested the last Assembly election and have been given organisational responsibility now include Kaushal Mishra in Shahajahanpur, Raghvender Singh in Lakhimpur, Vivek Bansal in Aligarh. Vijay Gond had joined Congress before the 2012 assembly polls but could not contest, has been made district president of Sonbhadra now.
In an another significant decision, party decided to make two senior leaders, former MP Brijendra Singh the district president of Aligarh and former MLC Vivek Bansal as city president of the district. Bansal had also unsuccessfully contested last Assembly election.
Sources said the party has kept caste combination of the respective districts in mind as well since it has selected about 33 Muslim and 28 Brahmin faces to represent its district and city units in the state. However, women representation has been low in the list.