The Congress Party has not been able to succeed in any of its experiments in Uttar Pradesh. Every experiment has yielded a reverse effect. It has been two decades since the Congress went under. Since then, its has never seemed to be anywhere near bouncing back. In the mean time Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra have tried their level best to improve matters. Many Chairpersons sat on the Chair of the State Congress. Everyone claimed a lot of things, but no one was able to change the basic truth. During the 2009 Legislative Assembly Elections, a little bit of improvement was seen in the condition of the Congress. A little increase took place in the number of MPs. When 22 Congresspersons won in the elections, a little bit of motivation was seen in the Congress camp. On the basis of this win, the Congress began dreaming of a big success in the 2012 Legislative Assembly elections. The Congress started to think it was the only alternative to the Bahujan Samaj Party ( BSP) in Uttar Pradesh. The ‘Prince’ of the Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, stepped forward to take advantage of the situation.
He took the responsibility of the 2012 Legislative Assembly Elections on his shoulders. The entire Gandhi family backed him. During election campaigns, Rahul Gandhi created such an environment that each and every Congressperson began considering themselves as a part of the Congress Party in the 2012 elections. Rahul became a one man show in the party. He was very anxious to add a winning feather to his hat. The Congress party was giving such confident signals that it seemed no one could win the elections without their support. But when the results were declared, then the Congress leaders started to hide their faces. They started to blame each other for the defeat. Rahul Gandhi took the whole responsibility of the defeat on himself. After the Legislative Assembly Elections, the Congress was defeated again in the Municipal Elections. Among the 12 Municipal Corporations, the Congress was not able to hoist the Congress flag in a single one. Winning and losing is natural in elections but this defeat marked a black spot on the capability of Rahul Gandhi. The anti-Congress parties began describing Rahul Gandhi as ‘incapable’. Intellectuals also said that this has ended the chances for Rahul to become the Prime Minister after the 2014 General Elections. The foreign media also began raising questions about the capability of Rahul Gandhi. ‘The Economist’, a well known magazine published from London has commented that, ‘the Prince of the Congress Party is confused.’
Who should be given the responsibility for the next elections has become an ‘unanswerable’ question. No one among the big leaders of the Congress is ready to take on this responsibility. It seems that they already know that the Congress can never win in Uttar Pradesh again. Whoever tries to pull it up will
fall into an abyss.
The defeat in both the elections was so heart breaking that Rahul Gandhi turned his face away from Uttar Pradesh. As soon as Rahul Gandhi distanced himself from the state Congress, the Chairperson of the State Congress, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, also resigned from her post. In the mean time who should be given the responsibility for the next elections has become an ‘unanswerable’ question. No one among the big leaders of the Congress is ready to take on this responsibility. It seems that they already know that the Congress can never win in Uttar Pradesh again. Whoever tries to pull it up will fall into an abyss. In the last two decades, the top leaders of the Congress, who went on to become the President of the State Congress, are Mahaveer Prasad, Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Balram Singh Yadav, Kunwar Jitendra Prasad, Salman Khurshid – two times, Prakash Jaiswal, Arun Kumar Singh Munna and Jagdambika Pal. But nobody did anything. In the mean time, it will be unfair to expect anything from the newly recruited State Congress President, Nirmal Khatri, due to the fact that his stature is obviously less than the above mentioned names. It has been said that Rahul Gandhi played an important role in the recruitment of Nirmal Khatri. It has also been said that for the sake of the Lok Sabha Elections, Rahul has formed a ‘Navratna ‘team. While interacting with the media Khatri said that he will abide by the responsibilities that were given to him by Rahul Gandhi.
It is worth mentioning that that the 62 year old Nirmal Khatri has enough experience for both organisational matters and the Government. He was the President of the Uttar Pradesh Youth Congress. He voice has reached from the Legislative Assembly to Parliament. MP Nirmal Khatri is very well acquainted with 10 Janpath. So it is expected he will get enough liberty to work. The welcoming ceremony of Nirmal Khatri was performed on 11 September in Lucknow. Now it is time to work. Nirmal Khatri realises that he has to show some positive results. Probably this may be the reason that immediately after reaching Lucknow he addressed Congresspersons and said that Lok Sabha Elections are the biggest challenge for them. He also gave the indication that his team will be experienced but youth will be given equal attention. The Congress has introduced a zonal system in Uttar Pradesh according to which the state has been divided into 8 zones and for every zone a President has been recruited. Those who have been selected for the post of Zonal President are MP Rashid Masood, MP P.L. Punia, Legislator Vivek Singh, MP Rajaram, Former MP Chaudhary Brijendra Singh and Legislator Anugrah Narayan Singh. Everybody will work under the Chairmanship of Nirmal Khatri.
This is a new experiment of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. The leaders of Scheduled Castes, OBC’s, Kshatriyas, Brahmins, Muslims and all others communities have been selected for Zonal Presidentships to increase the number of voters. If we talk about Nirmal Khatri, then his biggest strength is his acceptability among the members of the Congress. On the other hand his weakness is that over the last few years his recognition amongst the public has shrunk. Nirmal has taken the responsibility at a time when such a frustrating period is prevailing in the Congress Party.
The Nine Ratnas of Rahul Gandhi
- Nirmal Khatri (MP)- Faizabad
- Rashid Masood (MP Rajya Sabha)- Saharanpur
- P.L. Punia (MP)- Barabanki
- Vivek Kumar Singh (Legislator)- Banda
- Rajaram Pal (MP)- Kanpur
- Chaudhary Brijendra Singh (Ex- MP)- Aligarh
- Anugrah Narayan Singh (Legislator)- Allahabad
- Jitin Prasad (MP)- Shahjahanpur
- R.P.N. Singh (MP)- Kushinagar