It is party time for Rahul's super 6 on UP's rough roads
By Subhash Mishra - LUCKNOW
Published: 28th Jul 2013 08:20:54 AM
The poll drums are booming in Congress election campaign chief Rahul Gandhi’s War Room at 13, Gurdwara Rakabganj Road. As part of his strategy for the 2014 general elections, the Gandhi scion has decided to involve Union ministers in revitalizing the party in their respective states. He is starting with his home state, Uttar Pradesh. Six ministers, Salman Khurshid, Shriprakash Jaiswal, Beni Prasad Verma, RPN Singh, Pradip Jain Aditya and Jitin Prasada—all from UP—have been asked to hit the road immediately after having been allotted a new territory each.
All of them have been told to spend at least two days a month in their allotted districts; work with the cadres and local leaders to get the Congress ready to face the parliamentary elections. The decision comes in the wake of a report by the party’s general secretary and Uttar Pradesh in-charge Madhusudan Mistry who toured the state last month extensively, met a cross section of party workers and prepared his report accordingly. Mistry has been advising Rahul on ticket allotment after doing constituency audits and has even prepared the criteria by which candidates will be chosen.
Rahul’s corporate style of governance is visible in Mission Mistry: all the ministers hitting the ground in UP will have to prepare periodic progress reports showing the quantum of work they have done. These reports will follow the same format given to general secretaries and party leaders, which tabulates the number of meetings each has addressed at the grassroots level. Incidentally, both Mistry and the BJP’s campaign in-charge in Uttar Pradesh Amit Shah hail from Gujarat and know each another well.
The ministers, except for Khurshid and Jaiswal were earlier heading the zonal committees in the state, which were disbanded a month ago in view of reformulating the party strategy in the state. The new ministerial efforts are meant to give further impetus to implementing many UPA schemes in Uttar Pradesh by putting pressure on the district administration to get projects off the ground; the intention is to ensure that the party reaps the political benefits of the programmes. They have also been asked to be the “administrative interface” of the Congress between the High Command and the state unit. The ministers will also coordinate between the Centre and the state governments to remove any glitches in implementation.
Khurshid would henceforth stay for at least two days in Western UP’s mostly Muslim dominated districts like Moradabad, Bijnore, Saharanpur and seven others. Aditya will work in the Yadav belt of Etawah-Mainpuri, apart from Bundelkhand. Singh will get active in Mirzapur, Mau Azamgarh, Gorakhpur and Lucknow. Verma has been asked to expand from Lucknow, Barabanki and Gonda and extend his reach to Etah, Farrukhabad, Aligarh, Ferozabad and some other districts dominated by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family. Prasada has been given the Hardoi region. Jaiswal from Kanpur has been given the responsibility of the eastern fringes of Kushi Nagar Deoria plus some other districts in the state.
The party high command has asked the chosen ministers to submit their report to Mistry on the state of affairs in the party and the organization in their allotted areas so that plans could be formulated on how to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Mistry who was appointed in charge of Uttar Pradesh two months ago wants to activate the moribund state unit.
- The Sunday Standard