Nearly a month after Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee was revamped under the supervision of party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, voices of dissension have started to surface.
A group of senior party leaders, mostly above 60 years old, met in Lucknow on Thursday where they expressed their disappointment over being sidelined in the party and resolved to take up the issue with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
“For a long time, there has been concern among senior leaders that while they are active and had dedicated their life to the party, they have now been sidelined. On the other hand, those recently joined the party have been given organisational responsibility,” said a senior Congress leader, who was a office bearer in the state Congress unit till recently. Nearly 45 leaders were present in Thursday’s meeting, which was attended by former president of UP Youth Congress Santosh Singh, former disciplinary committee chairman Ram Krishna Dwivedi, former chief of communication Siraj Mehendi, former chairman of communication Satyadev Tripathi, former head of OBC unit Vinod Chaudhary, former Youth Congress President S P Goswami, among others. The meeting reportedly took place at Santosh Singh’s Gomti Nagar residence.
At the meeting, former MLA Rajendra Singh Solanki proposed to organise a two-day “sammelan” of 500 party leaders in Noida to raise the concern of senior leaders and to discuss measures to save and strengthen the party, sources said.
“We are well wishers of the Congress. We have given all our life to the party, and would continue to do so. But it is not appropriate to shunt out the seniors despite the fact that they have been active and have given their time to the party activities in compare to those, who do not even belong to the Congress and joined the party recently,” said another senior Congress leader.
Last month, the central leadership of the party reconstituted UP Congress Committee by inducting fresh faces mostly in their 40s. The party also chose Ajay Kumar Lallu, MLA from Tamukhi Raj, know for his grassroot agitations as the state unit chief. The reasoning behind inducting young faces, as given by some party leaders, was that as it is a time for struggle and agitations and therefore young faces would be able to lead them better.
“The new committee makes us feel that after a certain age people automatically become defunct. It has led to resentment among the senior leaders, who want to voice it before Sonia Gandhi. It was agreed during the meeting that appointment would be sought to meet Sonia Gandhi where they would voice their concerns,” said another leader.