In order to revive its fortunes in the country’s most-populated and politically significant state of Uttar Pradesh, ahead of assembly polls, Congress is planning a mammoth exercise to identify its old workers and re-connect with the families of the dead ones. Since the party has been out of power in the state for more than 27 years now, reconnecting with them has become a herculean task.
In an exclusive interview with dna, party’s chief ministerial candidate Sheila Dikshit said the Congress plans to bring workers out of dormancy, by reaching out to them. Also instead of big-ticket events, the party will test waters by conducting mohalla meetings to gain a foothold after nearly three decades of ‘political drought’. She said the state currently wants freedom from the family rule of Samajwadi Party (SP) and dictatorial attitude of Mayawati and the political shenanigans of the BJP. Dikshit challenged the BJP to revive its old plank of construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.
“As part of a strategy, we first need to revive our dormant forces. There are people who have left and have become inactive. Tremendous responses during our roadshow in Lucknow and Varanasi have given us hope that there is enthusiasm amongst Congress supporters. We have to mobilise people in right direction,” said Dikshit. From August 21 to October 9, the party will be holding 66 meetings throughout the state. The Congress has taken lead to announce its campaign plan for UP.
While it is being speculated that the Congress may follow its West Bengal and Bihar strategy by tying up with regional parties, Dikshit said there was no such plan for the time being. “The SP just promotes its family interest. BSP is a one women party and Mayawati’s exposure of politics of money has hit her hard. There is no question of aligning with the BJP,” said Dikshit.
The three-time chief minister of Delhi, who had managed to keep BJP away, now wants to remind the people of UP about party’s fake promises. “Babri Masjid was demolished during BJP rule. They had promised a temple, collected bricks and money. Where is the temple? The promises that they have made were never fulfilled. We are going to tell the people, not to fall in their trap. You have broken the promise earlier, you will break it again,” she said.
Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s style of politics and the recent increase in atrocities against the minorities, Dikshit said it has boosted chance of her party, as people have now enough experience of Modi rule.
On the losing streak of her party over past two years, Dikshit said the Congress will learn from mistakes. Citing former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s defeat of 1977 and then a comeback within three years, Dikshit added, “If we had not learnt from our mistakes then, Indira Gandhi would not have made a came back. We did not go tom-tomming about it. We are doing our homework,” she said.