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Revamping Congress in UP

AICC Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is all set to bring about major changes in the functioning of the Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh to meet the challenge of Lok Sabha polls in 2014. He is in consultations with the state President Nirmal Khattri and this change will be spread all over the districts in this crucial state for the future shape of the new government at the centre.

The first step in this direction would be to change certain zonal heads who are not able to give more time to party organisation as they are sitting MPs or MLA and have to look after their constituencies as well. During recent meeting with Rahul Gandhi several Congress leaders had conveyed their resentment as zonal heads were not giving proper time to strengthen the organisation. Some of the leaders even told Rahul Gandhi that he should scrap the zonal division system as it completely boomeranged. So much so, senior Congress leaders too are not happy the way zonal heads were appointed.

The decision to divide party organisation in eight zones was taken by Rahul Gandhi. Senior leaders, who matter in state and central politics, were not taken into confidence. AICC vice-president is also aware that only two zonal heads – Qazi Rasheed Masood MP and Brijendra Singh have prepared their reports after visiting all the districts assigned to them and submitted to Rahul Gandhi. In order to promote Qazi Rasheed Masood as prominent Muslim face of the party, Rahul Gandhi also made him chairman of APEDA.

Rahul Gandhi will bring changes in zonal heads and give prominence to former MPs, MLAs who are not in race for Lok Sabha elections and should spend more time to party organisation. According to informed sources, Rahul Gandhi in consultation with UPCC president Nirmal Khattri is all set to changes districts and city level office-bearers all over the state.

Once the zonal heads are changed and list of district and city office-bearers are announced, then only party would decide about selection of candidates. As part of the strategy, Congress had asked zonal heads to shortlist candidates in their respective areas and submit report to party high command. Beside the zonal presidents, Congress had also appointed observers who visited all the 80 constituencies and submitted their report to party high command.

Several zonal heads were very critical of party decision to appoint observers by Congress high command. They complained that the observers undermined their authority in the whole set-up. Congress high command is also looking into the request of certain sitting MPs who are not comfortable in their constituencies and wants to change to more safer place.

Bollywood star Raj Babbar who is a sitting MP from Firozabad is looking toward Lucknow from where he had head contested in 1996 on Samajwadi Party ticket and lost against Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. Former UPCC President Rita Bahuguna Joshi MLA is also serious candidate from Lucknow.

Senior Congress leader Surendra Rajput said that once the names of district and city units were declared, then only party would like to have series of public meetings of Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka in various parts of the state. (IPA)
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