NEW DELHI / LUCKNOW: hectic parleys began Tuesday, close on the heels of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s arrival, with the Congress strategising on how best to launch her in the most crucial state of Uttar Pradesh to the party’s advantage. Priyanka’s assignment began with a visit to the AICC headquarters to meet party president Rahul and senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, besides AICC in-charge of organisation
KC Venugopal and UP chief Raj Babbar.
Sources said the party wants a big launch for Priyanka, now officially the in-charge for UP east but the brainstorming mainly centered around whether to mark her entry in Lucknow, the state capital or Allahabad, the home town of Nehru-Gandhi family.
The party intends to play on Priyanka’s striking similarities to her grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The top leaders also reviewed the status of the party apparatus in UP. The parleys were expected to continue on Wednesday as well with senior UP leaders arriving in Delhi to put together the teams to assist both Priyanka and Scindia.
Leaders in UP expect a wholesale revamp of the organisational structure and the names of around a dozen prominent leaders, likely to be included in the core team of Priyanka, are already doing the rounds. As per the buzz, the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) may be bifurcated into PCC (East) and PCC (West).
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 already divided the 80 Lok Sabha segments – 42 seats in eastern UP and 38 in western UP— which will fall under either PCC’s.
For PCC chief of eastern UP, names of leaders like Dr Sanjay Singh, RPN Singh and Lalitesh Pati Tripathi have been mentioned.
Jitin Prasada, a minister in UPA government, Imran Masood,a prominent Muslim face, besides Pankaj Malik, a Jat leader, are under consideration for the post of working president west.
Meanwhile, names of Prakash Joshi and Zubair Khan, close associates of Rahul Gandhi may assist Priyanka, while Naseeb Singh could be secretary for west.
Senior Congress leader PL Punia is tipped to head the party election committee in Lucknow while Rajeev Shukla may head the media committee.
Priyanka is likely to add her own team of MLC Deepak Singh, Kishori Lal Sharma and Akhilesh Pratap Singh, who manage party affairs in Amethi and Rae Barelli.