A CONGRESS leader from Ballia district on Saturday put up a poster outside the party office in Lucknow, announcing a reward of Rs 5 lakh for the person who would find poll strategist Prashant Kishor and bring him before party workers. Congress state president Raj Babbar, who saw the poster just before entering the office, asked party workers to immediately remove it. He later claimed it was too early to blame anyone for the poll debacle. Babbar is in the city to hold a two-day post-poll review with all candidates from Sunday.
Rajesh Singh, a secretary in the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee, who claimed to have put up the poster on behalf of “all Congressmen”, claimed party workers needed some answers this time. “For the last one year, we have been made to work like fools… without asking any questions. We were told to work as he (Kishor) wanted us to without any ifs and buts… we did so thinking that probably it was best for the revival of the party. But now we need answers,” he said.
“They might remove the posters, but this is what many Congress workers are thinking and they would say the same sooner or later…,” he added.
Meanwhile, Babbar, who had offered to resign after the Congress won only seven seats in the UP polls, said though the post-poll review is yet to take place, Congress’ alliance with SP was not responsible for the rout of the party. “Most had agreed that alliance was the need of the hour. I do not find the alliance to be responsible for the results.
However, as we have lost, there must have been some mistakes and we would review them,” he told mediapersons in Lucknow after felicitating the new MLAs at the state party headquarters on Saturday.
Referring to the seven MLAs, he said: “No matter what the numbers are, they are suraj ke saath ghodas… The alliance had received support as well, but we the results were not as expected.” He added that BJP has got a huge mandate and “now, it is to be seen if it fulfils its promises”.
Asked why he had offered to resign, Babbar said: “Shayad mai apni baat majbooti se nahi rakh paya (May be I could not put across my point strongly).”
“Congress’ ‘27 saal UP behal’ campaign was not specific to any individual. We thought that by putting Akhilesh Yadav (SP national president) in the forefront, all shortcomings would be removed…,” he claimed.
Accusing the BJP indulging in the “politics of bagpipers” and that of “dhol-nagade”, Babbar said while Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi campaigned in all the five states that went to polls, he only campaigned a bit more in Uttar Pradesh following requests of local leaders.
On BSP chief Mayawati questioning the authenticity of EVMs used in the Assembly polls, Babbar said: “Everyone should have faith in the Election Commission… vishwas par hi rajniti hai (Politics depends on trust)…”
He, however, did not deny the possibility of a grand alliance in the future, involving even BSP. “Agar waqt ki zaroorat hogi… koi nakaratmakta nahi hai (If times demand… there is no negativity),” said Babbar.
When asked about the structural changes in the party that Rahul had spoken about following the poll defeat, Babbar said “changes are expected to take shape within a month”.