LUCKNOW, November 11, 2009
Congress can emerge as an alternative in U.P.
Atiq Khan Share
The Hindu Supporters greet Congress leader Raj Babbar on his win in
Firozabad on Tuesday. The Congress camp is upbeat after victories in
Firozabad and Lucknow West by-polls.
The outcome of the November 7 by-elections in Uttar Pradesh has handed
the Congress a chance to emerge as an alternative to the Bahujan Samaj
Party (BSP) at the expense of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the
Bharatiya Janata Party, which have been routed.
Given that the party has won the Firozabad Lok Sabha and Lucknow West
Assembly seats, and notched up an increase in its vote share in eight
other Assembly seats, the mood in the Congress camp is upbeat.
However, much will depend on how the party is going to sustain the new
vigour to achieve Rahul Gandhi's "Mission 2012" in the State.
Though the Congress's vote share has dipped in four constituencies,
compared with the 2007 Assembly elections, it has gone up in seven
other seats. In Firozabad, the party polled a mere 6,341 votes in the
Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year; this time round, the tally
has shot up to 3,12,728 votes, with its candidate Raj Babbar winning
But again, six Congress candidates have lost their deposits in the
Assembly by-elections from Etawah, Lalitpur, Jhansi, Padrauna, Kol
Asla and Rari.
In Powayan, the Congress polled 31,322 votes in the 2007 Assembly
elections, but in the by-elections, its candidate has garnered 44,322
votes. In Lucknow West, the party came third with 11,011 votes in
2007; but this time, it has won the seat with 32,166 votes. The party
polled 8,794 votes in Isauli in 2007, but has come second this time,
polling 32,686 votes. In Bhartana, its tally has shot up from 3,270 in
2007 to 31,166 in 2009; in Lalitpur from 4,741 to 29,479; and in
Hainser Bazaar from 3,462 to 39,018. At Rari, the increase is
negligible though: from 4,755 to 4,880.
The party's vote share has declined in Jhansi, Padrauna, Etawah and
Kol Asla. Jhansi and Padrauna were represented by Union Ministers
Pradeep Jain and R.P.N. Singh before they were elected to the Lok
Sabha in 2009.
Now the Congress is focussing on strengthening the organisation and
increasing the membership. The organisational elections will start in
January next. This apart, the party is determined to expose the
shortcomings of the Mayawati government.
"Armed with the Rahul Gandhi factor, the Congress will expose the
mismanagement of the Mayawati government," says UPCC spokesperson
Subodh Srivastava. The Congressmen also view the BSP's sweep in the
by-elections with scepticism, as Chief Minister Mayawati has been
accused of having misused official machinery.
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