Prominent UP faces of Congress likely to be part of Priyanka Gandhi’s core team

Congress has been awaiting a revamp since Rahul Gandhi’s election as party president in December 2017.

Published: 04th February 2019 07:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th February 2019 07:01 PM   |  A+A-

Priyanka Gandhi. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: The much awaited organisational revamp of Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh, crucial to its revival plan, may now come through any day as soon as Priyanka Gandhi assumes charge of party general secretary, in-charge eastern UP.

Congress has been awaiting a revamp since Rahul Gandhi’s election as party president in December 2017.

Left with less than 100 days for the general elections, Priyanka Gandhi is likely to hit the ground in UP soon with her core ‘Team Priyanka’ in play.  Moreover, entrusted with the daunting task of reviving party’s electoral fortunes, a big organisational overhaul of Congress in UP seems to be on the cards.

As per the insight given by party sources, the names of around a dozen prominent Congress leaders from to Uttar Pradesh are doing rounds to be included in the core team of Priyanka Gandhi.

“Priyanka ji will come to Uttar Pradesh with a full-fledged team of leaders who she will handpick to help her while helming the party affairs in eastern UP,” says a veteran Congress leader of Uttar Pradesh.

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As per the buzz in the state Congress, the shape and contours of the inner circle of Priyanka suggest that Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee may see its bifurcation into PCC (East) and PCC (West).

“On the lines of appointing two general secretaries for the time – Priyanka Gandhi for East and Jyotiraditya Scindhia for West—if UPCC is bifurcated into two PCCs, the management of party affairs will be easier both for Priyanka ji and Scindhiaji,” says a senior Congress leader.

While Raj Babbar may be retained as the state chief for now, two working presidents --  one for east and other for west -- could be appointed shortly. In fact, Congress has divided that 80 Lok Sabha segments – 42 seats in eastern UP and 38 in western UP.

For PCC chief of eastern UP, leaders like, Sanjay Sinh, RPN Singh and Lilitesh Pati Tripathi are the front-runners.

While Dr Sanjay Sinh, Raja Amethi and party RS member, is currently heading the Research and Analytics wing of UP Congress, RPN Singh is a prominent thakur face and member of a royal family of Kushinagar in eastern UP. In 2014, RPN Singh was the runner up from Kushinagar and currently he is party in-charge Jharkhand. Lalitesh Pati Tripathi is great-grandson of former UP CM Kamal Pati Tripathi.

On the other, for western UP, names of Jitin Prasada, son of late Jitendra Prasada, former MP from Dhaurara and minister in Manmohan government, Imran Masood -- a prominent Muslim face with respectable clout in minority community -- and Pankaj Malik, a jat leader from UP western UP are under consideration for the post of working president.

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This bifurcation will take the load off Raj Babbar who may seek election from Fatehpur Sikri and would need time to focus on his own election and party’s campaign as one of the star campaigners.

The sources also confirmed that both eastern and western PPC units will have two secretaries each. While Prakash Joshi and Zubair Khan, close associates of Rahul Gandhi and well versed with the political equations of eastern UP, maybe assisting Priyanka, Naseeb Singh and one more leader would be a part of team Scindhia.

The Congress, looking at near-extinction in UP outside the pocket boroughs of Amethi and Rae Bareli, needs to consolidate all its wings. Accordingly, senior Congress leader, member of Rajya Sabha and Dalit face of Congress party, PL Punia is tipped to head the state election committee of the party in Lucknow. Similarly, another UP leader belonging to Kanpur and supposedly close to Gandhi family, Rajeev Shukla may be entrusted with handling the media committee.

Besides, the above mentioned structure of eastern and western UP teams, Priyanka is likely to be accompanied by her ‘B’ team also comprising of a group of leaders, including party MLC Deepak Singh, Kishori Lal Sharma and Akhilesh Pratap Singh, party spokesman, who have been close to Priyanka Gandhi since her days of spearheading party campaign in Amethi and Rae Bareli.

Once the new team is in place, the party will then appoint 130 district and city presidents, whose appointments have been pending since June, last year.

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