The poll debacle forced both Rahul and his sister Priyanka to remain away from the media. Though Rahul came forward to accept his defeat and congratulated Akhilesh on his victory but what looked evident in the TV visuals was his nervousness and he was lost in sea of thoughts that were going somewhere at the back of his mind. He was not able to digest the defeat and especially when the party lost badly on their home turf. The party also failed to do any wonder in the districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh where the party trusted one of his ministers blindly in distributing the tickets and that turned out to be a fiasco for the party.
Now, why the Congress, which once ruled the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh with great authority and majority, fair so poor in the polls when they were able to keep the prices of petrol under control during all the days of election campaigning and voting in all seven phases. The Congress failed on a number of fronts and some of them are as follows:
The Congress lost about a hundred seats on the day when state president Dr Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s house was burnt down by hooligans during the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) rule, and the party senior leaders at the Centre failed to project her as the leader of Uttar Pradesh and as the next chief minister of the state if Congress was voted to power. Joshi's house, located in a high-security zone in Lucknow, was vandalised and torched on the night of July 15, 2009, after she allegedly made strong remarks against the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati.
The inclusion of outsiders by Rahul Gandhi was done to increase the vote share of the party but in fact it decreased the Congress performance in the number of seats. Take the case of Kaiserganj in Bahraich district. Here advocate Salahuddin Khan was denied a ticket by Rahul Gandhi, and it was given to a Bahujan Samaj Party worker Saiyyub Ali and he came fourth as the supporters and workers of Salahuddin may not have supported the outsider.
Similarly in Baheri, Ovais Khan was denied a ticket and the ticket was given to the son of the Chairman of the Delhi Congress Committee. Ovais had organised a meeting for Sriprakash Jaiswal and Rita Bahuguna in Baheri in the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency before the elections, which was attended by more than 10,000 persons, when he was denied the ticket, Arun Zutshi a close confidant of Digvijay Singh, claimed Ovais does not have a chance of winning the seat as collecting a crowd and getting votes are two different issues. An incensed team of neglected Congress workers then ensured that the Chairman’s son got around a thousand votes and lost his deposit.
It will not be out of place to mention here that Y K Arora along with seven other trade union leaders joined the Congress in Tirloki Nath Hall in Lucknow with a thousand supporters. Rita Bahuguna Joshi declared him as the vice-chairman of the Labour cell. Arora and his trade Union has a cadre of almost 4.5 lakh employees in the state, and that could have easily compensated for the lack of infrastructure and grassroots workers that the party had and it’s so called ‘organizational weakness’ for which Congress was blamed time and again in the media.
Arora and his team made several representations to Digvijaya Singh through various sources but they got no response or orders to carry on work, which Arora took charge of Rita Bahuguna’s campaign in Lucknow. The rest of the team in the state may have got so annoyed at the kind of treatment they got from the VIPs in the party that they may have decided to help the Samajwadi Party win.
Amar Habibullah was also denied a ticket from the Kursi seat in Barabanki district. His close supporters then rooted for Fareed Kidwai and ensured his win. Fareed is today a minister. Even Beni Prasad Verma’s son lost in the Daryabad seat of Barabanki, as he is looked upon as a mini Kalyan Singh in the area, a man who has alleged to be the main person behind instigating riots and murder of the Muslims in 2006 in the area.
The issues related with the Minority affairs were handled by a team of novices. Their entire cooked up Ansari package proved to be a disaster for the Congress party. It is also important to note that when in the year 2008, the members of the All India Muslim Forum had joined the Congress, which included names like Salahuddin Khan and Ajit Chak along with Arshad Azmi of the Jan Morcha in Lucknow, no attempt was ever made to consult them on the issues related with Minority affairs. As a result the “Minority quota Bill” came as the biggest disaster that the Congress think tank could whip up.
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