Rahul to start review of UP poll debacle today

To hear out those who polled over 20,000 votes

Written by Prashant Pandey | Allahabad | Published: April 5, 2012 3:40 am

Before he holds his first review meeting on the party’s performance in the UP elections with winning MLAs and MPs on April 5-6,Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi will hold a preliminary meeting with those candidates who did not win but polled 20,000 or more votes.

Interestingly,some of these candidates said they will raise the issues of “meddling” by senior leaders in poll affairs and giving of tickets to “outsiders”,besides talking about the need for “organisational changes”,during the meeting. Considering that Congress candidates ended up at the fourth or fifth places at a large number of seats,the opinion of these candidates is likely to be heard with a keen interest by Rahul,claimed party office-bearers.

In Allahabad alone,out of 12 constituencies,there were only three Congress candidates who polled more than 20,000 votes but failed to win. The lone winner from the district was Anugraha Narayan Singh from Allahabad (North). “We will have to work towards changing the mindset of the people,who have come to believe that the Congress just cannot win. This cannot happen without a change in the organisational set-up and strengthening it at the grassroots,” said a candidate from Allahabad,who did not win the elections but polled over 20,000 votes.

“So many leaders and ministers from outside only disturbed the elections,” the candidate added. Anugraha Narayan Singh could not be reached for his comment.

Post-elections,the party office-bearers across many neighbouring districts had sought to put the blame on senior leaders for “imposing their decisions,particularly in ticket selection”.

Nearly,125 tickets were given to OBC candidates,claimed office-bearers,at the instance of some senior leaders who were new to the party,but very few of these candidates won.

However,one of the “outsider” candidates,who crossed over from the BSP and contested from Soraon seat,Ajay Pasi,said those using the argument themselves had no base. “They have themselves never gone to the villages. I may be new to the party but not a new face in my area. Had the organisational structure been there,I could have won. There is nothing wrong with Rahulji’s thinking. It is those in the middle who are creating problems,” said Pasi,who will attend the April 5 meeting.

Incidentally,during the election campaign,Rahul had maintained he would stay put in UP irrespective of the results. However,he has not paid a visit to the state since the results came out a month ago. “He was held up because of Parliament session and the problem in government formation in Uttarakhand,” said a spokesperson.

Meanwhile,party’s UP in-charge Digivijaya Singh will not attend the meeting as he is out of country.

Hold review in Lucknow,not Delhi’

LUCKNOW: A day before the post-election review of Congress’s performance in the UP elections is to take place in New Delhi,Congress workers in the state have demanded that the exercise should rather be carried out in Lucknow.

UP Congress committee media coordinator Siraj Mehdi has written a letter to AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh in what is said to be the first instance of objection raised to such a high-level meeting by an office-bearer.

Seeking the election review meeting in Delhi,Mehdi said this was also significant in view of the upcoming local body elections in UP. “I have not only conveyed my view but the demand of a large number of UP Congress workers who feel the party should review the election results from Lucknow rather than in Delhi. This way workers will get a better chance to put forth their grievances” Mehdi told The Indian Express. “I have placed our demand before Digvijaya Singh as he is the state in-charge.”

Meanwhile,one of the frontal organisations of the party,Sewa Dal,has already conducted the post-election review in Lucknow and concluded that management of election by “outsiders,who did not understand UP,caused the defeat of the party.

UP Sewa Dal co-ordinator Prahlad Dwivedi told The Indian Express: “We are a frontal organisation and we will continue to work for the party. But we found out during the review that the Congress was beaten due management of elections in UP by outsiders. This also led to neglect of grassroots workers. There was no proper work distribution to frontal organisations like ours and there was also no way to connect with the senior leaders.”

As for the post-poll review taking place in Delhi,Dwivedi said that decision was for the party high command to take.

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