Smarting under humiliating defeat in the by-election to Hisar Lok Sabha seat in Haryana, Congress on Tuesday rubbished the idea that the "Anna factor" had played a role in its drubbing and questioned the civil society members' silence on corruption in Mayawati-ruled Uttar Pradesh.
"Our detractors are trying to read too much into Hisar by-poll result. To begin with, the seat was not a Congress bastion and the by-election was influenced by sympathy for the winner Kuldip Bishnoi, whose father Bhajan Lal's death had necessitated the by-poll," Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi told mediapersons in Allahabad.
Joshi also dismissed claims that the anti-Congress campaign by Team Anna in Hisar had a bearing on the by-poll results which saw the party being pushed to a distant third position and expressed surprise at the silence of the "so-called anti-corruption crusaders over the corrupt Mayawati government in UP".
"It is hard to understand why Team Anna reserves its acerbity for the Congress and what deters it from any type of criticism of Mayawati and her Bahujan Samaj Party, which have been setting records of corruption in their more than four years of rule in the state", she said.
Joshi said Congress was gearing up for taking on the "corrupt, insensitive and inefficient government in Uttar Pradesh", which goes to polls early next year."
"From November 1, the party will be launching five yatras across the state which will cover all the 400 plus assembly constituencies. Our general secretary Rahul Gandhi himself will participate in some of these yatras," she said.
The party also proposes to hold more than a dozen rallies across the state in December and wrap it up with a massive public meeting at Lucknow early next year which may be addressed by AICC president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, she said.