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Home > News > PTI

Rahul to start early for LS polls in UP: Khursheed

May 28, 2007 12:26 IST

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More: Uttar Pradesh polls 2007
Rahul Gandhi hits the UP poll trail

Despite the Congress party's dismal performance in the recent Assembly elections, the party's star campaigner and MP Rahul Gandhi is likely to start early for the Lok Sabha elections in 2009.

"It is only a matter of time when Rahul comes back to the state to lead the party," Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Salman Khursheed said on Sunday. "He may have started late for the Assembly polls but he will definitely start early for the next Parliamentary polls."

He said that the young Congress MP had made it clear that he had his sight on the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and not the
Assembly elections.

Khursheed, however, could not specify the time. "I am sure Rahul will very soon come to UP. I know he will," he said and added that Rahul had said during his campaigning that he would keep coming to the people of the state.

Denying that he was not given a free hand in running the party affairs in the state, Khursheed admitted that the organisational set up of the party was not strong enough to support the party candidates.

On caste factors in selection of candidates, he said that for the first time his party gave tickets to people belonging to castes like Lonia, Rajbhar and others but they too fared badly.

"Only caste can not guarantee success. We had fielded Ummed Singh, husband of the slain 'bandit queen' Phoolan Devi, but he also could not fare well," Khursheed said.

Giving a hint that there could be a reshuffle in the organisation in state the UPCC chief admitted that the Congress did make an attempt to weave alliance with caste based outfits' and other smaller parties but their demands were too much for us to accept.

"We spoke to Om Prakash Rajbhar of Bharat Samaj Party but he wanted 121 seats," he said adding that the RLD of  Ajit Singh wanted us to contest on seats in the eastern region only and leave the rest for them.

The Jan Morcha wanted us to contest on 203 seats only leaving the rest for them, he said.

In a significant revelation, the Congress leader said that one of the reasons for the debacle of the party was lack of a clear cut stand vis-a-vis the Samajwadi Party. 

"We were constantly told not to go all out against Mulayam Singh Yadav during campaigning as it may go to the advantage of the BJP," Khursheed said.

The Congress leader, however, rejected a contention that the caste conflict in the state would come to an end with the social engineering of the BSP. "The caste conflict will remain. It remains to be seen how Mayawati performs," he said.

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