Cong dissolves UP panels ahead of organisational revamp

Cong dissolves UP panels ahead of organisational revamp

Congress President Rahul Gandhi. PTI file photo

Congress in Uttar Pradesh has dissolved its key teams, including those looking after media and organisational matters, and set up an interim panel with the 2019 Lok Sabha election in mind.

"Efforts are on to make the Congress election-ready for the parliamentary polls and drive home the message that it is not a spent force in Uttar Pradesh," a senior party leader said here today.

UP Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar recently dissolved the teams looking after media, administration, organisational and financial matters in the party’s state unit.

He set up a four-member interim panel to oversee the day-to-day functioning of the party.

Senior leaders Satish Ajmani, Hanuman Tripathi, R P Tripathi and Harish Bajpai form the interim team.

"The UPCC will soon acquire a new look in preparation for the upcoming electoral challenges, especially the Lok Sabha elections in 2019," Babbar had said.

"We were caught off guard," a Congress leader said today on the dissolution of the old teams.

Three of the party's spokespersons in the defunct media committee was also served notice for making statements despite being instructed not to do so.

Senior leader Raj Bhadhur of the disciplinary committee had issued a show cause notice to Suchi Vishwas, Surendra Rajput and Hilal Ahmed, asking them why action should not be taken against them for representing the party despite Babbar's recent orders, a party release said.

Babbar has made it clear that this arrangement will remain in place till a new team takes over.

While dissolving the committees, Babbar had said it was being done with the aim of reorganising the party in the key state which has 80 Lok Sabha seats.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the party won only two UP seats - Raebareli (Sonia Gandhi) and Amethi (Rahul Gandhi) and in the subsequent Assembly polls in 2017, it got a meagre seven seats after contesting as a junior ally of the then ruling Samajwadi Party.

Hanuman Tripathi was earlier the head of organisation and administration before those teams were dissolved on Wednesday.

The surprise inclusion is that of Harish Bajpai, who was head of administration when Nirmal Khatri was the UPCC president and was ousted when Babbar took charge.

Defending Babbar's move to dissolve the committees, a former party spokesperson said it could also be taken as a signal that he is firmly in the saddle while he speaks about revamping the organisation.

"Besides, he was continuing with almost all the old committees and had not revised them after taking over the reins from Khatri," he said.

On the show cause notice served on the three former spokespersons, he said it was aimed at disciplining the party as many persons had acquired for themselves the role of spokesmen though they were not on the media panel.