Lucknow: ‘Former MLA of 399 – Marihan, Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh (2012-2017)’: reads the new Twitter bio of Lalitesh Pati Tripathi, Congress party’s Brahmin face in UP.
The ‘change in bio’ is being interpreted as a precursor to his exit from the Congress.
Lalitesh updated his Twitter bio Saturday night, removing INC from it and changing the cover photo from one with Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to a picture of him addressing a rally.
According to several UP Congress leaders, Lalitesh has already resigned as the vice president of the state party unit and is likely to join the Samajwadi Party.
However, a senior state Congress leader who spoke to ThePrint on the condition of anonymity said Lalitesh is taking a ”sabbatical” from politics.
Lalitesh’s exit could be a setback for the Congress ahead of the 2022 assembly elections. Earlier this year, Jitin Prasada, former Rahul Gandhi aide and Congress’ Brahmin face in UP, quit the party to join the BJP.
A source close to Lalitesh told ThePrint that the young Congress leader sent his resignation to the office of Sonia Gandhi in Delhi and not the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC).
UPCC president Ajay Lallu, however, refuted claims of Lalitesh’s resignation, saying the latter is a young leader of the party who everybody likes.
ThePrint tried to reach Lalitesh for a comment via calls and messages, but his phone was switched off.
A fourth-generation Congressmen
Lalitesh, a fourth-generation Congressman, is the great-grandson of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kamlapati Tripathi.
He was the MLA of UP’s Marihan constituency between 2012 and 2017. He was appointed vice-president of Uttar Pradesh Congress in 2019 and was made in-charge of the party’s activities in the eastern districts of the state in 2020.
His father, Rajesh Pati Tripathi, a former MLC from Congress, enjoyed a good rapport with the Gandhis.
A series of losses
Several state Congress leaders claim that the reason behind Lalitesh’s decision to ‘quit’ the party is the Congress’ situation in Uttar Pradesh.
“Lalitesh lost three elections — 2014 (Lok Sabha election), 2017 (assembly election), and 2019 (Lok Sabha election). If he loses another election, then his career may end, so he may not want to take the risk,” a UPCC functionary told ThePrint.
“He is on good terms with former MP Annu Tandon who joined SP recently. She also wanted him to join SP but some sort of negotiation is still going on … SP also needs one prominent Brahmin face in eastern UP, and who could be better than Kamalapati’s great-grandson,” the leader added.
Another UP Congress leader said Lalitesh and several other former MP and MLAs of UP Congress, who were hoping that the party will form an alliance with SP this election, are now leaving.
“Jitin (Prasada) left in June, now Lalitesh may also leave officially. Several other senior leaders are also in touch with the SP and BJP. They may also leave if a similar scenario continues. Who would like to stay if there are no chances of winning the seat on Congress symbol?” he said.
The Congress leader claimed Lalitesh is not happy with functioning within the UPCC, adding that although he was made incharge of 13 districts in eastern UP in 2020, he was not happy with the appointments being made without his consent.
Lalitesh’s family, the leader said, is also annoyed with a police case against ex-MLC Rajeshpati Tripathi, Laliteshpati Tripathi, and 40 others for allegedly grabbing 132 acres of land in the name of a cooperative society in the Manihan area of Mirzapur district.
“They have not got the kind of support from the party as they were expecting on this issue. These could be some reasons behind his likely resignation,” he added.