Congress appoints former BSP MP Brijlal Khabri as U.P. unit chief, names six regional heads

Party president Sonia Gandhi also appointed six regional heads in the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee.

October 01, 2022 03:10 pm | Updated 09:43 pm IST - New Delhi

File photo of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

File photo of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Indian National Congress (INC) on Saturday appointed Brijlal Khabri, a former Lok Sabha member, as the president of its Uttar Pradesh State unit. Mr. Khabri will replace Ajay Kumar Lallu, who had resigned in March 2022 after the party’s disastrous performance in the State Assembly election.

Mr. Khabri, a Dalit, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Jalaun in Bundelkhand region in the 1999 polls on a BSP ticket, joined the INC in 2016 alleging sale of tickets in the BSP.

Along with the State president, the Grand Old Party has also appointed six regional presidents under a new formula to keep caste and regional balance in the politically crucial State that has 80 Lok Sabha seats, where it has been out of power for 33 years. This shows in the appointment of Nasimuddin Siddiqui, Nakul Dubey, Anil Yadav, Ajai Rai, Virendra Chaudhary and Yogesh Dixit as regional heads, as all of them are from influential caste or religious groups in their respective regions.

While Ajay Rai is an influential Bhumihar strongman from Purvanchal, Nakul Dubey, a former minister in the BSP government, and Yogesh Dixit are given the post in a bid to make inroads into the Brahmin community in Awadh and Bundelkhand regions respectively. In West U.P., where Muslims are in sizeable numbers in at least 18 Lok Sabha seats, former Minister Nasimuddin Siddiqui has been appointed. Virendra Chaudhry, a Kurmi, who is one of the party’s two MLAs in the Assembly, will cater to the OBCs in Purvanchal region. The appointment of Ajay Yadav from Braj region can also be seen through the same lens.

With U.P. being crucial to the party's prospects in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the new team has an uphill task in hand to activate the cadres on ground who are down after the defeat in the Assembly polls. Despite a spirited campaign led by Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the party was able to win only two out of 403 seats in the 2022 Assembly elections and polled 2.33 per cent vote share, its lowest ever.

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