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Why Congress needs to learn lessons from Bahuguna's poll campaign?
The silent political campaign that was carried out by Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Dr Rita Bahuguna Joshi during the state assembly elections in Lucknow, has become a matter of envy for many senior Congress leaders.

THERE WERE no strident slogans, no dramatics and no fire-works in the month-long political campaign of the senior Congress leader and state president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee, Dr Rita Bahuguna Joshi who kept a low profile during all her campaign and public meets, and lend her ears patiently to the grievances and problems of the local people who saw in her a true leader and a real champion who was there to fight for their cause.

She stood like Joan of Arc and fought her political battle alone. Despite facing a stiff challenge from within the party and from the opposition who tried to sabotage her political aspirations, Rita Bahuguna Joshi won her Lucknow Cantonment seat with a bang, something few had thought in the Congress party. She won the seat from the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) stronghold of Lucknow Cantonment and that too, against a three-time MLA Suresh Tewari.

Today Bahuguna’s model of campaign is the only successful model the Congress Party can boast off. Even as the Congressmen today nurse their wounds in Uttar Pradesh and try and analyse what went wrong, it seems the party needs to take a lesson from her style of functioning.

She never criticized anyone, she never said a word against her opponents nor did she mention their names. She merely outlined her own political agenda for the constituency and plodded on silently. Even those campaigning with her were unnerved by the lack of theatrical speeches and fireworks. She will lose by a narrow margin they said of the former Mayor of Allahabad. But outside the Uttar Pradesh Congress office Bahuguna had positioned a team of her own, which did not report to anyone but her. For nearly six- months they had studied the layout of Alambagh area and the Constituency, notified the areas where they were weak and where they were strong.

Veteran trade union leader Y K Arora and his team of Bank and Service sector employees unions and officers’ associations was working for Rita for a month prior to the polling date. Comrade Arora, as he is popularly known among the Punjabi and Sikh Community there, as an old-timer of the area knew it as the back of his hand. He knew that the Sikh Community was attending a Congress Party meeting for the first time after 1984 when Rita came to Chandernagar for a meeting of over 700 residents. Here she was presented a letter by the Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee that they endorsed her candidature.

Half of Arora’s work was done that day. The other half had to be done in Adarshnagar, Krishnanagar, Sringarnagar and some other half-a-dozen areas. Accompanied by two persons, Y K Arora toured the area right and left meeting residents every day. Soon it was becoming apparent to the strongest critics of Bahuguna that she was very much in the fight. There were rumors that a ruling party worker was distributing Biryani and Liquor in a particular area but she paid no heed to that.

The tide turned in Singarnagar when in the house of Gagan Bhai a little girl walked up to Rita and said, “Aunty, will you come and play Holi with us after the elections?”

The Punjabi community swung around as one to welcome their newly elected MLA. On a day of upsets, which saw the national parties routed in Uttar Pradesh, Dr Joshi fought alone and won her own battle and saved in a manner of speaking the day for the Congress in this part of the state.

Her model of campaigning needs to be emulated by the senior Congress leaders sitting in Delhi and planning things for Uttar Pradesh while sitting 500 kms away inside their air-conditioned rooms and making plans for the state over a cup of tea while hearing things from the band of sycophants.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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