LUCKNOW: In a huddle with Congress workers in UP to review the reasons for the party’s decimation in the state during the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, Priyanka Gandhi minced no words in admonishing the cadre for not doing enough to ensure victory.
Flanked by mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, a visibly upset Priyanka, on a thanksgiving trip to Rae Bareli from where Sonia won the only seat for the Congress in UP, refused to give the cadre any credit for the victory at a meeting of party workers late on Wednesday night.
Instead, she said the party’s sole win was achieved with the help of Sonia Gandhi herself and the people of Rae Bareli. Priyanka felt that party workers did not deliver the way they should have to ensure party candidates’ victory.
The Congress general secretary, who was helming eastern UP during the Lok Sabha elections, reiterated that she would find out the names of the workers who did not work for the party in the elections. Priyanka was addressing a huge gathering of partymen from eastern UP and the media was barred from coverage of the congregation.
However, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi took a contrarian view and chose to put the blame for the party’s dismal show on the BJP, accusing it of ‘making attempts to mislead voters’ in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“Attempts were made to mislead voters in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Nothing can be more unfortunate for India than parties crossing all the norms to cling on to power,” said Sonia without naming the saffron brigade.
Notably, the Congress is unable to come to terms with the rude shock it got when party president Rahul Gandhi lost family bastion Amethi to BJP’s Smriti Irani by a margin of over 55,000 votes.
As per the Congress leaders who were privy to the review meeting, Sonia raised doubts on the authenticity of the poll outcome. Venting her ire on the BJP in a veiled attack, the UPA chairperson talked about the doubts being allegedly raised over India’s electoral process for the past few years.
Though she did not raise the issue of EVMs, she made open references to accusations being made by politicians about them. “There is an old saying there is no smoke without fire,” she quipped to summarise her observation.
Meanwhile, senior party leaders and Congress cadre demanded that the high command declare Priyanka as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the 2022 assembly elections in UP.
The party workers were also of the view that the grand old party should stay away from any alliance in the 2022 Assembly polls. They also advocated for a stout fight in the byelections to 12 assembly seats.
These seats have fallen vacant following the election of 11 MLAs as MPs and disqualification of BJP MLA from Hamirpur Ashok Chandel.