Chalking out a gameplan to resurrect itself in the upcoming local body polls after the wipeout in Assembly elections, the Congress called a meeting of 13 select state leaders — most of them young faces — in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Sources said very few knew about this meeting, which was called by AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad. The reason this was being done, sources further said, was to prepare “a second and third line of leadership” in the state as a large number of senior Congress leaders in UP had become inactive in state politics, setting their sights on Delhi instead.
To increase its odds of winning, the party is planning to assign a set of responsibilities to these select leaders at the divisional-level.
They will be expected to camp in their respective divisions and coordinate with local party units to not only select “winnable” candidates, but also give momentum to the campaign.
The Congress had recently decided to contest the local body elections alone, despite an alliance with the Samajwadi Party.
Sources said that of the 13 leaders invited, 12 attended, minus former MLA Akhilesh Singh. Among the attendees — besides state party president Raj Babbar — were former MP from Varanasi Rajesh Mishra, former MP Vivek Bansal, former MLA from Muzaffarnagar Pankaj Mallik, Vinod Chaturvedi and sitting MLA from Rampur Khas Aradhna Mishra.
Amid talks of an impending re-shuffle in the state party unit, sources said it had been indicated to these leaders that their team would operate at least till the upcoming local body elections, and that future teams would be formed on the basis of their performance.
“Municipal elections in Uttar Pradesh, expected in June or July, are very crucial for us. There is a section which believes that changes should be made now, while another believes that changes should be made after local body elections because a new team would not be able to take control so fast,” said a senior party leader who was part of the meeting on Tuesday.
In 2012, the Congress had lost all 12 mayoral seats in the municipal elections. While BJP had won 10 seats, Bareilly was won by the Samajwadi Party and Allahabad was won by a BSP-supported candidate.