Each step taken by team Congress during assembly election campaign shows a complete lack of strategy and leadership.
In Lok Sabha it has 2 lawmakers from state, in Vidhan Sabha it has 28, and its chances were not so bright as the Congress headed for Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh. Right from the start of its campaign with a month-long Kisan Rally to announcing an ageing Sheila Dikshit as CM candidate, each step by team Congress has shown a complete lack of strategy and leadership.
With almost negligible prospects of the party coming back to power, Congress went ahead to announce a chief ministerial candidate, that too – an old Sheila Dikshit, who had absolutely no base in the state. It can be well argued that announcing a CM candidate was well within the party’s legal rights, but naming Sheila Dikhshit despite having contenders like Raj Babbar and Nirmal Khatri, was nothing but a poor decision. Now, there is a clear confusion on who will lead Congress’ march in the state. Right from the first day, there have been talks about Priyanka Gandhi coming to state and campaigning for the party. But sadly, with less than six days remaining for first phase of election, Priyanka has hardly addressed any public rally.
While Rahul Gandhi kicked-off well with Khaat Sabhas in his Kisan Rally, he too, went for a surprise short “work-leave” in the last week of December, and lost a hard gained momentum. Then came the alliance with Samajwadi Party. While it can be well understood on SP’s part that a non-alliance with Congress would have divided its Muslim votes, the alliance was a shot in the arm for the grand old party. This too, it had almost lost. Insiders say that nothing but a lethargic yet apathetic attitude of Priyanka and Rahul was responsible for delay in the alliance. The two leaders reportedly didn’t show keen interest in alliance and sent lightweights like Prashant Kishor and Dheeraj Srivastava to make a deal with SP, leaving the latter, especially Akhilesh Yadav miffed. Even after the alliance was sealed, there was an open dissent in Congress with leaders protesting after cancellation of their tickets. At the time of alliance, Congress sent state UP chief Raj Babbar for joint-presser, while media-men were expecting a charged show with the presence of Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi.
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However, now the two leaders are scheduled to address a joint rally and road show on Sunday, forcing the grand old party to backtrack its earlier gimmick of ’27 saal UP behaal’ which attacked Akhilsh Yadav’s regime. Now the party has a new slogan- ‘UP Ko Ye Saath Pasand hai’. While Samajwadi Party’s Facebook and Twitter page still shows #KaamBoltaHai hashtag, banking upon party’s development agenda, Congress seems to have thrown all its weight behind the alliance with its FB page already issuing posters of Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav on the same cover. Much before the alliance was sealed, Congress’ CM candidate Sheila Dikshit, showing unprecedented submission, openly said that Akhilesh Yadav is a better CM choice than her. It seems the Congress has nothing left but to walk behind Samajwadi Party in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, and its prospects will only diminish for General Elections in 2019.