Cong to woo farmers, caste based outfits in UP

Cong to woo farmers, caste based outfits in UP

Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar with Rajya Sabha MP Congress leader Pramod Tiwari being produced in a special court in connection with a case, in Allahabad, Monday, Jan 7, 2019. PTI

Sensing that it might be excluded from the 'grand alliance' of the SP, BSP and RLD, the Congress has started working on an alternative strategy in Uttar Pradesh and has decided to focus on farmers and woo caste-based outfits to regain lost grounds in the state.

A senior UP Congress leader said that the grand old party was preparing to go it alone in the state in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls and has identified around three dozen seats, where it feels it can perform well.

"We will prefer to be part of the grand alliance in UP for we have a common enemy, but we are also ready to contest alone if we do not get a respectable number of seats," the leader said while speaking to DH here on Thursday.

Congress has asked its senior leaders from the state to be ready to contest in the next LS polls. "Many senior state party leaders will be contesting in the 2019 LS polls," he said.

According to sources, the grand old party has identified Kushinagar, Kanpur, Barabanki, Faizabad, Pratapgarh, Baharaich, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur, Meerut, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Bulandshahar Lok Sabha seats, among others, and plans to focus more on them.

"These are among the seats, where we expect to perform well... we had won many of these seats in the past," the leader said.

He also said that the grand old party would be focusing on farmers and raise their issues in the polls. The party feels that its strategy of taking up farmers' issues in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh can also pay rich electoral dividends in Uttar Pradesh.

"Non-payment of cane arrears, stray cattle destroying standing crops and suicides by the farmers are among several issues that affect the farmers today... we will be raising them in the polls," he said.

The grand old party was also in talks with some small, caste-based outfits and the rebel Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Shivpal Singh Yadav for an electoral understanding in the LS polls.

Shivpal has already hinted that he is ready to have an alliance with the Congress. The party was also in touch with Bheem Army, an SC outfit, and its leader Chandrashekhar alias Ravan, who wielded considerable influence over the community in some western districts in the state.