Ahead of the bypolls for 13 seats in Uttar Pradesh, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Friday met senior state party leaders to discuss the possible candidates and indicated that the party should go it “all alone” and not enter into any alliance.
According to a senior party leader aware of the proceedings, the meeting at the residence of former Congress President Rahul Gandhi was attended by former Union Ministers R.P.N. Singh, Jitin Prasada, Pramod Tiwari and several others and lasted for over one and a half hour.
“The meeting was called to discuss the possible candidates for the by-elections to 13 assembly seats in the state which fell vacant after the BJP MLAs won in the Lok Sabha elections,” the party leader told IANS.
He said discussions over alliances were also held. “And Priyanka Gandhi asked the party leaders to prepare accordingly as the party is planning to go all alone in the bypolls.”
According to the leader, during the meeting, state party leaders pointed out how the alliance with the Samajwadi Party in the 2017 assembly polls had proved suicidal for the Congress.
However, a final decision will be taken by Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi in the coming days, he said.
The leader said that Priyanka Gandhi, who is also in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, also discussed the strategy to revive the party in the state, where it has been out of power since 1989.
Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia were appointed as General Secretaries just ahead of the parliamentary polls and made the in charge for eastern and western UP respectively. They had campaigned vigorously but of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats, the Congress could manage to win only Rae Bareli, represented by Sonia Gandhi. The party chief Rahul Gandhi lost to Union minister Smriti Irani from his family borough of Amethi by a margin of 55,000 votes.
After the drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress had dissolved all its district Committees in the state and formed a three-member panel to look into complaints of gross indiscipline during the election.
The party had also decided to depute a two-member team to oversee election preparations in all the assembly seats where the bypolls are scheduled to take place.