Searching the folded covers of Congress’ presence in Uttar Pradesh, one is likely to find darkness at the foot of the lighthouse. The Gandhi family, which has always been rooted in the state since generations, has failed to enrich it with the legacy attached to the party and the family. JPN
The fate of the state has been such that in spite of their permanent constituencies in the single state, the party in collectivity fails to leave a mark in the state.
Mentioning the failed saga of the Congress connection in Uttar Pradesh, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi has ruled on Amethi and Rae Bareli since years but the town does not boast of an extraordinary development or an advantage.
Sonia and Rahul mother-son duo have been holding the constituencies of Rae Bareli and Amethi alike Maneka and Varun have been holding Pilibhit. Sonia Gandhi contested Lok Sabha elections from Amethi in 1999 and 2004 while in 2009, she was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from Rae Bareli.
Even though being named in the list of Forbes most powerful women and many additional laurels and honourary degrees by Brussels University and Government of Belgium to name a few, the bottom line is if she could win by above 4 lakh vote margin in 2006 from Rae Bareli, why could not her success spread to the whole of the state? Why could she not convince people that she would be a suitable leader for the state? Why no Gandhian is presented as the future Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh?
The city boasts of a rail coach factory, sugar, telephone, thermal power plant, cables, cement factory and paper mills which is an admirable achievement to boost the morale of the unemployed but inspite of its industrial GDP growing at 4 percent per annum, the city fails to stand out.
However, according to the sources, Priyanka Vadra has been looking after the constituency of the Congress high command to assist her in her responsibility of looking after the city.
Not far behind, ‘Yuvraj’ or Rahul Gandhi got elected from Amethi, a previous seat of his uncle Sanjay Gandhi, by a huge margin of one lakh votes. He emerged as a public figure on the political scene by making surprise visits to Bhatta Parsaul to unearth the atrocities on the dalits and the women, sipping tea with farmers, his prominent tryst with Kalawati who invited major wrath on the Gandhi in the Lok Sabha. All these have been all smoke and no fire.
But one cannot overrule his present role of spearheading the UP Assembly election preparations. Rahul has not been leaving any stone unturned in encashing the increasing negativity about the present Chief Minister Mayawati for being neck deep in trouble with corruption charges, NRHM scam, Bhatta Parsaul human rights issue and the increasing crime rate in UP.
It is to be noted, though he was a prominent figure in a high profile Congress campaign for the 2007 UP Assembly elections; Congress, however, won only 22 seats with 8.53 percent votes. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, he retained his Amethi constituency by defeating his nearest rival by a margin of over 3, 33, 000 votes. In these elections Congress was said to have revived itself in UP by winning 21 out of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats and the majority of the credit for this turnaround was given to Rahul Gandhi.
Such a charismatic persona of Rahul however provides no advantage to the much low profile city called Amethi. Though he has put a lot of thrust on roads infrastructure in utilising the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana to the hilt, he forgot to focus on the other areas maybe because he was required to travel by road to his constituency as it does not have an airport. He has spent only 6 percent of the MPLAD fund in the constituency.
Moving on to the other branches of the family tree, in 2009, Maneka contested and won from Aonla while her son, Varun Gandhi won from neighbouring Pilibhit. In 2004, Maneka had joined the BJP and won from Pilibhit. She has won 5 out of the 6 times she has contested from Pilibhit. This is a measure of her enormous personal popularity in the region but in spite of her enigmatic presence and now Varun’s, the city is still considered backward in the industry sector.
The locals in Aonla say that though there are companies like Hindustan Petroleum, Indian Oil and IFFCO urea factory, hardly any locals are recruited.
In the 2009 general elections, Varun Gandhi won the seat by receiving 419,539 votes and defeated his nearest contending candidate, V.M. Singh, by a margin of 281,501 votes. The victory was the strongest of any of the four Gandhi family candidates in the election.
Varun has spent 78 percent of his MPLAD fund in his constituency and started mobile ambulances in Pilibhit which is the only district in North India having such facility but the lack of proper industrial development inspite of small scale industries is deeply felt.
However, it remains to be seen that the Congress will continue to be the underdog in UP or the upcoming Assembly elections will bring some change of breeze for the party reaped since generations.
Searching the folded covers of Congress’ presence in Uttar Pradesh, one is likely to find darkness at the foot of the lighthouse. The Gandhi family, which has always been rooted in the state since generations, has failed to enrich it with the legacy attached to the party and the family.