In what comes as yet another setback for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, her plans to rebuild the Congress in the state of Uttar Pradesh has met stiff resistance from the old guard of the Congress. Low attendance at a recent meeting at the Congress headquarters shows the extent of dissent brewing against her. As per TOI, only 40 out of 350 invitees turned up at the meeting of former MPs, MLAs and candidates for the 2017 Assembly polls and 2019 Lok Sabha polls, organised at the Congress Headquarters on Wednesday.
Commenting about the ongoing crisis in Uttar Pradesh Congress, a party leader said, “Priyanka’s plan of giving command to young faces appears to be backfiring.” A few days ago, it was Deccan Herald had quoted a disgruntled Congress leader as saying, “After Rahulji’s exit, we find ourselves isolated… we had expected Priyankaji to accommodate us respectfully in the revamped state unit but it did not happen.”
The old guard has expressed dissatisfaction over its exclusion from the UPCC. The old guard now plans to meet the party president Sonia Gandhi and raise this issue. Two meetings have been held by the old guard in the past fortnight to voice their resentment against the ‘arbitrary’ and ‘undemocratic’ manner in which the new leadership has been imposed on loyal party cadres.
The first meeting took place at the residence of Siraj Mehndi in the first week of this month. Mehndi is already disgruntled with the party and had even tendered his resignation last month, arguing that not a single Shia was there in the new team. The second meeting of the disillusioned old guard took place on November 14 apparently for paying tribute to former PM Jawaharlal Nehru on his birth anniversary. An insider has revealed, “One leader even pointed fingers at Priyanka, saying Congress was not a private limited company.”
The disgruntled veterans are going to hold another meeting at the former MLA Ranjan Singh Solanki’s residence in Noida. This meeting assumes importance as a delegation would be chosen for meeting the party president Sonia Gandhi. With this, we can only expect the ongoing crisis within the Congress in Uttar Pradesh to escalate from here.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had taken it upon herself to revamp the party in Uttar Pradesh after it faced a drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year. The party was able to win only one seat in the state of Uttar Pradesh and that too in the form of Rae Bareli seat of Sonia Gandhi that is concerned a traditional stronghold.
Priyanka Gandhi who had held 26 rallies in Uttar Pradesh and 38 total rallies during the Lok Sabha campaign proved to be a major failure, with the grand old party losing in 97 per cent of the seats where she had campaigned. However, her plans to revamp the party have failed to bring any positive results.
The party contested the Uttar Pradesh by-polls, wherein 11 Assembly seats went to polls on October 21. Here too, the Congress failed to win a single seat. Notwithstanding, the party’s disastrous showing, Priyanka Gandhi claimed moral victory and said, “We are happy that our vote percentage in Uttar Pradesh has increased. This is a small achievement for our organisation. On Gangoh assembly seat, our candidate was winning but he was told to leave the counting centre. We demand that the Election Commission should fairly investigate the matter.”
When Priyanka Gandhi Vadra formally entered politics around three months before the parliamentary polls earlier this year, she was being hailed as a gamechanger. The essence of the propaganda within the mainstream media was that she is capable and competent, unlike her brother who has proved highly ineffective when it comes to leading the party.
However, after the drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls in the state of Uttar Pradesh and the by-polls later on, it has become clear that she is no gamechanger. Now, it seems that she has done more harm than good to the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. She has not only failed the Congress electorally but has also failed to keep the house in order as the old guard seems rather disillusioned with the party leadership. It seems that the Congress is set for a major crisis in the state with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra virtually at the helm of affairs in the politically significant state of Uttar Pradesh.