The party will hold a series of protests against Akhilesh Yadav govt beginning with the 'gherao' of the secretariat next week.
In the run-up to 2014 elections, conscious of the fact that it will “go it alone” in Uttar Pradesh and unlikely to stitch up any alliances, the party has decided to go all out against the Samajwadi Party government.
Although officially, the Congress is unwilling to spell this out, senior leaders confirm that no alliances are in the offing. The party will be holding a series of protests against the Akhilesh Yadav government, beginning with the ‘gherao’ of the secretariat next week to protest the non-implementation of the Food Security Bill in the state.
The well-considered move has come from the party’s past experience with the regional parties in UP, the SP for instance, who are unwilling to give the Congress anything more than 10 to 12 seats, while the Congress demands double that number.
More importantly, the Congress has been emboldened also by the understanding that the SP, although allied with the UPA at the Centre, has no possibility of tying up with the Bharatiya Janata Party given its large minority vote bank.
“Finding itself between a rock and a hard place, the SP has no room to manouevre and so it makes it easier for us to target it in UP,” says a Congress insider.
As it is, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has not been too keen on stitching up alliances and has more often in the past, decided to go it alone; this time too it is unlikely to be any different, he added.
“In 2007, the reason why we broke off with Mulayam Singh Yadav was because they were unwilling to give into our demand for 30 seats, all they were offering us was 10 to 12. This time we go into the polls with 22 sitting MPs, so there is no way we can settle for anything less than that,” explained a senior UP Congress leader.
Madhusudan Mistry, the in-charge of Congress affairs in UP, who was handpicked by Rahul (after he netted Karnataka for the Congress), has been personally monitoring and regularly visiting the state to step up organisation strengthening efforts. The Congress’s new-found aggression against SP was evident when Rahul kicked off the party’s campaign in UP from Aligarh and Rampur.
Addressing party supporters, he asked, “Are the laptops working? Did it give you employment?” Free laptops were one of the SP’s most popular electoral sops in UP Assembly polls. At Aligarh, he had said, “There has been zero development in UP -- whether it was the SP or the BSP. If UP has to be truly transformed, you need to vote and bring the Congress to power.”
He subsequently accused the SP government of being unwilling to implement the Food Security Act, as they feared it would benefit the Congress in the polls.
The party has asked its 22 sitting MPs to submit work progress reports of their constituencies to the Congress vice-president regularly.
Gandhi, dissatisfied with the performance of Union ministers from the state, had then undertaken an organisational revamp with newer faces. It’s a no-holds-barred fight in the offing in UP.
Image: SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav with son UP CM Akhilesh Yadav