UP Assembly bypolls turns reality check for Congress

Uttar Pradesh Assembly bypolls turns reality check for Congress

The party has been forced back to the drawing board as it drew blanks on all seven seats

Representative image. Credit: File photo.

A dismal performance in the recently concluded bypolls on seven Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh has forced the Congress to redraw its electoral strategy in the state.

The grand old party, which had been nurturing hopes to not only replace the Samajwadi Party (SP) and BSP as the main opposition party in the state but also grab a seat or two, drew a blank in the bypolls.

The only solace for the party was that it managed to finish runners up on two of the six seats it had contested. Its nominees Arti Bajpai and Kripa Shankar finished second on Bangarmau and Ghatampur Assembly seats surprising the political observers here.

On the remaining four, the party candidates, however, lost their security deposits.

The bypolls results came as a reality check for the party, which had undergone a major rejig a few months back. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was also in-charge of the state, had herself chosen the party candidates.

Although several senior Congress leaders wanted the party to 're-visit' its electoral strategy, state party president Ajai Kumar Lallu said that he was 'satisfied' with the performance of the party in the bypolls. "We finished second on two seats and third on another....our vote percentage also increased," Lallu said.

State Congress sources, however, said that a weak organisation and lack of winnable candidates were largely responsible for the poor performance of the party.

"Despite all efforts by Priyankaji, we have not been able to strengthen the party at the grassroots level...we need to focus on it if we want to challenge the BJP in the next Assembly polls," said a senior state Congress leader here.

The next Assembly polls in UP are due in little more than a year's time.