New Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi, who was on Wednesday given the charge of boosting the Congress’ prospects in crucial Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha polls faces an uphill task, if the party’s performance in the last Lok Sabha elections is taken into consideration.
The 47-year-old daughter of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and sister of Congress President Rahul Gandhi has been made General Secretary in-charge of East Uttar Pradesh.
Her formal entry into politics and being given the charge of Uttar Pradesh assumes significance as the state, where 80 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats are at stake, plays a crucial role in the formation of the central government.
In boosting the party’s prospects, Priyanka’s challenge will involve taking on two formidable political formations – BJP-led NDA and SP-BSP alliance.
About 42 Lok Sabha seats fall in the region whose charge will be under her.
The major constituencies that fall in the region under her charge include Varanasi, Amethi, Rae Bareli, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Azamgarh, Deoria, Basti, Allahabad and Chandauli.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress could win only two seats in the state — Amethi and Rae Bareli seats — while the BJP won 71 seats, its ally Apna Dal got 2 and Samajwadi Party bagged 5 seats.
In Varanasi, Prime Minister Modi had emerged victorious with a huge margin and Congress candidate Ajay Rai came third after AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal
Gorakhpur seat was bagged by Yogi Adityanath while Congress’ Astbhuja Prasad Tripathi stood fourth.
However, when by-election was held in the constituency last year after Adityanath became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the BJP lost to Samajwadi Party’s Praveen Kumar Nishad, who was contesting with the support of BSP.
The Lucknow seat was won by Rajnath Singh, the then BJP President, defeating Rita Bahuguna Joshi of the Congress by nearly three lakh votes.
Two years later, Bahuguna quit the Congress and joined the BJP.
In Azamgarh, the Congress stood fourth while the SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav won. BJP’s Ramakant Yadav came second and BSP’s Shah Alam got third position.
In Deoria, BJP’s Kalraj Mishra emerged victorious while the Congress’ Sabha Kunwar finished fourth.
Something similar happened in Allahabad as well, where BJP candidate Shyama Charan Gupta won while Congress’ Nand Gopal Gupta came fourth.
In Chandauli also, BJP’s Mahendra Nath Pandey bagged the maximum votes while Congress’ Tarunendra Chand Patel stood fourth.
Not just the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress challenge fell flat even in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections for which Rahul Gandhi had formed an alliance with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
The BJP heavily dominated the results with as many as 312 out of 403 Assembly seats, while the Congress and SP alliance won a total of 54 seats.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had 22 seats, most of them from the eastern region.
After the announcement today, Rahul said Priyanka and Scindia are “powerful youth leaders” who will bring about a change in the situation in the state.
Priyanka and Scindia will present “the right kind of ideology for the poor, for the oppressed people”, he said, expressing hope that “a new kind of thinking and a positive change” will come in UP.