Uttar Pradesh elections: Hired to script Congress revival, Kishor and team can’t touch Gandhi seats

Amethi, Rae Bareli, Sultanpur out of Kishor’s exercise; first two are personally monitored by Priyanka.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow | Published:April 27, 2016 4:52 am
http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/a-band-of-boys-is-coming-back-and-the-guys-here-to-stay/ (From left) Prashant Kishor with Congress state president Nirmal Khatri . Express photo

HE may have been assigned the job to revive the Congress party’s fortunes in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Assembly polls next year, but poll strategist Prashant Kishor, it seems, cannot touch the Gandhi family pocket boroughs Rae Bareli and Amethi, and also the neighbouring Sultanpur district.

These three districts are not a part of the exercise taken up by Kishor and his team to make Congress battle ready for 2017 polls. The concerned district units as well as the state unit of Congress claim that they do not need “special expertise” to manage the affairs as, according to them, the “cadre in these districts, personally selected and monitored by Priyanka Gandhi, are already an example to follow” for the party units in rest of the state.

Thus, while the rest of the districts have submitted the feedback to some questions asked by Kishor in a written format along with the names and contact numbers of at least 20 “dedicated party workers” from each Assembly constituency, Amethi, Rae Bareli and Sultanpur have been quietly kept out of the process.

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“We already have a cadre till grass root level here, which has been personally selected and monitored by Priyanka Gandhi. It is not a question of just 20 names, we can give thousands of names from each Assembly constituency with their contact numbers but that exercise is not required here,” said Yogendra Mishra, district Congress president in Amethi.

Mishra said that they were “neither asked to be part of the exercise, nor did they feel the need” because the cadre is already working till the grass root level “under guidance of Priyanka Gandhi”.

State president Nirmal Khatri confirmed that three districts have not been asked to submit feedback. “We have not asked for reports or feedback from Amethi, Rae Bareli and Sultanpur because the cadre is already active there and is perfectly in place. In fact, these districts are an example to be followed and replicated in the rest of the state,” he said.

Asked about the reason for excluding Sultanpur also from the exercise conducted by Kishor, Khatri said, “It is because of our mistakes that things could not be strengthened there. Right now, I cannot give the reasons for excluding Sultanpur as well.”

Cadres in both Rae Bareli and Amethi, the parliamentary constituencies of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, respectively, are selected under direct monitoring of Priyanka Gandhi, who also keeps on personally meeting them in Delhi or during her tours to the districts. These two were the only constituencies from where Congress won in Uttar Pradesh in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. However, Congress represents only two of the 10 Assembly seats that fall under these two Lok Sabha constituencies. Both the seats fall in Amethi. Soon after the last Assembly elections in 2012, Priyanka had restructured the cadre in both the districts.

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