A meeting of a select group of 25-30 senior Congress leaders, most of whom were star campaigners in the recently concluded byelections and Lok Sabha elections, has been called on September 28 in Lucknow. The aim is to work out a revival strategy and to look into the complaints of cadre about the “disinterest” shown by some of these leaders in campaigning.
The list of invitees include former union ministers Beni Prasad Verma, Salman Khurshid, Jitin Prasada, R P N Singh, Pradeep Jain Aditya, former MPs P L Punia, Rajaram Pal, Rajya Sabha MPs Sanjay Sinh and Pramod Tiwari. All these leaders were assigned responsibilities of one assembly constituency each in the recent bypolls and were also star campaigners.
A surprise invitee is Gandhi family loyalist Captain Satish Sharma .
Other star campaigners like Mohsina Kidwai, former MP Raj Babbar, former state president Rita Bahuguna Joshi along with CLP leader Pradeep Mathur have also been called.
Beni and Babbar would most likely skip the meeting.
This is for the first time that AICC general secretary Madhusdan Mistry is holding a meeting of senior leaders before holding a post-poll review with party cadre and candidates.
“There is no pre-set agenda for the meeting as we want it to be a forum for healthy deliberations among a select group of seniormost leaders. Most of these were star campaigners during the recent elections. The idea is to find out what do they think of the current scenario.” said Congress state president Nirmal Khatri.
Khatri said not much should be read into the invite to Sharma. “He was one of the campaigners during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and he is also Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh. Thus, his advice would be valuable.”
Sharma has been out of regular party activities since long and has been seen mainly during election campaigns in Rae Bareli and Amethi. He was last seen in Amethi during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign of Rahul Gandhi and had accompanied the Congress vice-president on the day of filing of nomination papers.
The review meeting with the cadre would take place the next day, on August 29.