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Khabri's appointment triggers discontent in UP Cong

IANS | October 03, 2022 03:44 PM

LUCKNOW: Discontent is simmering in the Congress in Uttar Pradesh over the appointment of the new state president and six regional chiefs.

Party leaders claim that the new appointment clearly indicated that the Congress was turning into a Bahujan Samaj Party of sorts since the new leaders have their roots in the BSP instead of Congress.

"Brij Lal Khabri, who is now UP Congress president, belongs to the BSP cadre and joined the Congress in 2016. Naseemuddin Siddiqui, another BSP leader, came into the Congress in 2018.

Nakul Dubey, a former BSP minister, joined the Congress in May this year and both Dubey and Siddiqui are now regional presidents of the party.

"If the Congress leadership thinks that leaders like Brij Lal Khabri will ensure Dalit outreach, then the party should know that Khabri could get merely 4, 344 votes from Mehroni in the Assembly polls earlier this year, " said a Congress leader.

Those who have been appointed regional chiefs also include Ajay Rai, who was earlier with the BJP, Virendra Chaudhary, who contested on a BSP ticket in 2012 and Anil Yadav, who contested election on a BSP ticket before joining the Congress.

Yogesh Dixit, the sixth of the regional presidents, is the only one who started his political career with the Youth Congress.

A former Congress member Zishan Haider tweeted, "Are bilkul baura gaye hainkisi Congressi ko bhi bana dete toh khushi hoti. (They have gone mad. Would have been happy had anybody from Congress been appointed)."

While the Congress leaders argue that even the BJP has several turncoats as ministers and even deputy chief minister, party cadres say that, "However, what makes things little different in case of the Congress is that none barring one is from the Congress background. This only shows the dearth of leadership in the party."

Party leaders are also questioning the timing of the appointments.

"When the process of electing a new party president is underway, what was the rush of announcing a new UPCC chief? It seems that there were some vested interests who wanted to set up their rubber stamps here, " said a party worker.

However, a senior Congress leader, preferring anonymity, said that it was not that Congress had a dearth of leadership, but majority of self-respecting Congressmen are not ready to bow to the diktat of a coterie which is active in the Uttar Pradesh Congress.

"Secondly, there are leaders, which the coterie knows will not dance to its tunes, hence their names are not sent to the central leadership. There are a few names which came up for discussion but were not considered primarily for this reason, " he said.

The Congress, said sources, has tried to keep caste equation in mind as Khabri is a Dalit. While of the six regional presidents, two are Brahmins, one a Muslim, one Bhumihar and two from backward castes.

Interestingly, there is no woman in the list of new office-bearers and this is surprising since the Congress had based its entire Assembly election campaign in UP on "Ladki hoon, lad sakti hoon."

A former Congress MLA said, "If caste was a factor, then the party leadership could have opted for committed party leaders instead of fresh turncoats. Rajesh Mishra, former MP has been ignored in favour of Nakul Dubey."

The Congress workers, according to sources, feel that the new appointments could prove to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

"We expected that the party high command would learn some lessons and give us a robust committee but we have been disappointed. The only option is now for a new Congress - like Ghulam Nabi Azad has done. We will start talking to our leaders and hope that something will take shape after Diwali, " said a group of disgruntled party workers.

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