File image of UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu with party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra | Photo: ANI
File image of UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu with party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra | Photo: ANI
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Lucknow: The Congress has already set the ball rolling for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, likely to be held in March 2022, and is looking to launch a process to find suitable candidates. 

The party has set a two-step criteria for prospective candidates — be proactive during panchayat elections next year and establish a distinct identity in the area through participation in various demonstrations and protests carried out by the party.

The Congress state unit president Ajay Lallu told ThePrint that the process will start in early 2021 when three to four strong contenders for each assembly segment will be shortlisted on the basis of these criteria. Then in the middle of next year, the candidate with the strongest claim will receive the green signal from the party to contest.

“This time tickets will be distributed only on the basis of how active a person has been in the area,” Lallu said. “Instead of paradropping candidates at the last moment, activeness of the probable contenders for the ticket will be monitored from the early months of 2021. The panchayat elections are supposed to be held in April 2021. How active a contender is during the polls will play a very important role in their short listing process.” 


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Exclusive plans for panchayat elections 

Keeping an eye on the increasing resentment among the farmers against the farm bills, the Congress in UP now wants to widen its reach in the state’s rural areas.

It has decided to conduct a membership drive between 2 October and 17 December at the block, nyaya panchayat and gram sabha levels. The party will run a special campaign called ‘Sangathan Srijan Abhiyan’ for this purpose. 

The party hopes to induct fresh blood at the lower levels that could benefit it in the panchayat elections. It has formed a committee at the state level that will monitor the entire plan. 

“The Congress’s organisation will be active at each gram sabha level,” party Secretary Anil Yadav said. “The formation of state and district committees is almost done. Now the focus is on blocks, nyaya panchayats and gram panchayat levels.” 

“There will be a 25-member block committee while the nyaya panchayat committee will have 21 members and a committee of 15 members will be formed in every gram panchayat,” he added. “The chairperson of all the village panchayat committees will be a youth, whose age will be between 25 and 35.” 

Another UP Congress office-bearer said that if the organisation appears active in the villages, then it will clear the confusion being spread by many rival parties that it is not active on the ground. 

Efforts to strengthen the party at the rural level 

The Congress appears to be focusing on strengthening its grassroots levels. Only recently, party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had discussed this issue with the state officials through video conferencing and a strategy was chalked out for the future. 

“If we manage to perform better in the panchayat elections, then its impact will be visible during the 2022 assembly elections too,” she had said in the meeting.

Although Priyanka Gandhi has not visited Uttar Pradesh since February 2020, she has remained constantly active and is holding meetings through video conferences.

According to a source considered close to Team Priyanka, it is being expected that she will once again become physically active in UP from around Diwali. “Bigger rallies are not possible during the corona(virus) epidemic, but in the time to come, Priyanka Gandhi will herself conduct small chaupal meets at the village level,” the source said. “Currently, she is closely monitoring various activities being carried out by the organisation.”


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