SENIOR Congress leaders have rejected the idea of forming or being a part of a Grand Alliance in Uttar Pradesh and want the party to contest the Assembly elections in the state in 2017 on its own.
The senior party leaders from UP who met AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry in Delhi Saturday to discuss the strategy for the polls also demanded that a chief ministerial candidate should be named.
“The rank and file of the party wants Congress to contest the elections on its own,” former Union minister R P N Singh said after the deliberations.
While no such discussion was officially on the agenda, in view of party’s performance in the Bihar elections, some leaders raised the issue of forming a Grand Alliance in UP. However, most of the seniors present rejected the idea saying that it will only weaken the party and maintained that the political scenario of the two states cannot be compared.
“The senior leaders have outrightly rejected the idea of an alliance in UP. Most of them were of the view that for party’s revival, we should go alone in the state,” said Congress state president Nirmal Khatri. “Some senior leaders have also come forward to take responsibility and have said that they would start moving in the districts to strengthen the party,” he added.
Besides Khatri, more than 20 senior leaders from the state including former Union ministers Salman Khurshid, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Mohsina Kidwai, Jitin Prasada participated in the meeting. They wanted the party to draw up an aggressive agitation programme ahead of the Assembly polls and an ambitious action plan to take UP on the fast track.
Congress has been out of power in the state since 1989 in the wake of the Mandir and Mandal issues that saw it getting increasingly marginalised. Some leaders said that projection of a chief ministerial candidate would benefit the party. “Leaders were of the view that Congress has failed to project a face in UP for a long time. While targeting (SP chief) Mulayam Singhjh Yadav or (BSP supremo) Mayawati, party does not have any face to counter them. Most leaders thus demanded that this is the time Congress should declare its chief ministerial candidate,” said a senior leader, who was part of the meeting.
Mistry dismissed reports about any plans to change the PCC chief.
Meanwhile, Jitin Prasada again put forward his demand to raise the issue of reservation for economically weaker section. To this, it was discussed that party should make it clear that they are advocating this reservation in addition to the existing reservation structure.
Some of the senior leaders also demanded that they should be taken into confidence before declaring Assembly seat candidates in their respective regions.
About 23 senior leaders including former union ministers Salman Khurshid, RPN Singh, Jitin Prasada, Pradeep Jain Aditya; AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry, state president Nirmal Khatri, former state president Rita Bahuguna Joshi, AICC secretaries Sanjay Kapoor, Raja Ram Pal, Naseeb Singh, Prakash Joshi etc were part of the meeting. While the discussion results would be placed before the party high command, it has been decided that senior leaders would meet after three months in the similar manner.