LUCKNOW: The letter bomb which went off in the Congress party seeking introspection on a democratically-elected leadership to chart the future course, had also echoed in party’s UP chapter quite prominently.
UP is being looked after by Gandhi family scion Priyanka Gandhi Vadra since 2019. There have been rumblings among the senior ranks against the state leadership ever since Priyanka set up her team last year.
Ten senior Congressmen in Uttar Pradesh were expelled last year when they came out openly against team Priyanka and the appointment of Ajay Kumar Lallu as party’s state unit chief where they did not find any place.
However, in a recent mega reshuffle by the party high command, the UP netas got positions of prominence in various panels while the party’s national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was elevated as the only in-charge of the party in the state.
Appointed in January 2019, Priyanka Gandhi started as the general secretary and was looking after as in-charge of only eastern UP.
The prominent among those who made it to various central responsibilities in the party include former MP Jitin Prasada who was reappointed as West Bengal in-charge. The state is due to go to poll in 2021.
Prasada, one among 23 dissenters who had shot off the letter to party high command, has also been given the responsibility of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
While Prasada thanked party leadership for ‘reposing faith’ in him and pledged his commitment towards the new responsibilities, there were murmurs that he would continue to remain active in UP with his pro-Brahmin campaign.
The other prominent faces from UP to be elevated included PL Punia and RPN Singh who have helmed party affairs in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, respectively. Even a party loyalist and former MP from Varanasi Rajesh Mishra was inducted into ‘central election authority’ which will work directly under party president Sonia Gandhi and undertake crucial organisational elections and membership drives for the party. The authority is being led by Madhusudan Mistry.
Mishra had refused the advisory role given to him by Priyanka while reconstituting her executive team UP last year. Veteran politician and former Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tewari was inducted as a permanent invitee to the All India Congress Committee. A crucial voice in UP, Tewari is expected to work closely with Priyanka Gandhi.
Similarly, a prominent Congress face from Aligarh – Vivek Bansal -- was appointed Haryana in-charge. Earlier, he served as secretary in-charge in Rajasthan.
Congress leader with UP connection Rajiv Shukla was made the in-charge of Himachal Pradesh. However, former UPCC chief Raj Babbar, who had also signed the letter of dissent, failed to make it to any panel and has been ignored by the leadership.
Babbar had resigned after the party’s miserable decimation in the 2019 general elections. Congress could retain only one Lok Sabha seat – Rae Bareli-- in the state in the 2019 general elections.