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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Anna effect: Congress in Uttar Pradesh needs Rahul Gandhi help for poll campaign

The Congress leaders in Uttar Pradesh are desperately looking towards party general secretary Rahul Gandhi to lead them in the poll battle.

The Congress state unit is especially nervous after Anna Hazare announced he would observe a three-day fast in Lucknow before the assembly elections and exhort the voters to reject the Congress candidates if the Jan Lokpal Bill was not tabled in the winter session of Parliament.

Though the elections are at least five months away, the party's election campaign committee has been advised to chalk out an extensive tour plan for Rahul. Union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal heads the committee.
"Chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati is already touring the state, Samajwadi Party state president Akhilesh Yadav is undertaking the Kranti Rath Yatra and senior BJP leader L. K. Advani's Rath Yatra will enter UP on October 12. Besides, BJP leaders Kalraj Mishra and Rajnath Singh will take out two more yatras from Kashi and Mathura respectively from October 13. We cannot afford to sit idle and watch these parties steal a march over us. But since Rahul is the only crowd puller for our party in the state, we obviously look to him. He will also do road shows," a senior Congress leader said.

UPCC chief spokesperson Subodh Srivastava confirmed that Rahul's election programme would begin in the first week of November.

"The first phase of Rahul's campaign would last at least 40 days, during which Cong in UP chalks out a Rahul plan he will take out yatra s and meet a large number of people. We have divided UP broadly in four zones - east, central, west and Bundelkhand. Our emphasis will be on ensuring that Rahul spends at least 10 days in each zone. During our previous yatra s, which were taken out by the local leaders, we had divided UP into 10 areas, each comprising 40 assembly constituencies. Rahul is expected to visit each constituency during his forthcoming yatra ," the leader added.

However, sources in the Congress claimed that the party's central leadership was of the view that Rahul should go to only those constituencies where the party candidate stood a good chance of winning the seat.
"A section of our leadership doesn't want Rahul to visit the BSP or SP pocket boroughs. We have learnt the hard way that Rahul should be the symbol of only victory. Despite his hard work, the party had received a setback in the Bihar assembly elections.

This shouldn't be repeated in UP if we want him to remain the most promising leader of the party," another Congress leader said.


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