Congress’ general secretary (Uttar Pradesh east) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is working towards the goal of ensuring the victory of the party in the 2019 general elections by stitching alliances with smaller caste-based parties in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
The beginning was made on Wednesday evening, when Mahan Dal, a small caste-based party of Uttar Pradesh representing Shakyas, Mauryas and Kushwahas, merged with the Congress. Mahan Dal president Keshav Dev Maurya merged his party with the Congress in presence of Priyanka and secretary (western UP) Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Welcoming Mahan Dal’s merger with Congress, Priyanka said, “We want to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with full might and win it." She noted that Congress President Rahul Gandhi had given her the task to make Congress a renewed political force in Uttar Pradesh by taking support of all castes.
Scindia said that by joining Congress, Mahan Dal has strengthened the hands of Rahul Gandhi.
“Both Rahul and Priyanka are of the view that country should progress by taking all the castes and communities of the society together. This will help in not only preserving the future of Uttar Pradesh, but also of the country," added Scindia.
Mahan Dal President Keshav Maurya said that he had decided to join Congress because the backward castes had always benefited in the Congress’ regime.
“Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party have their own agenda and they work for their personal interests, neglecting the society as a whole,” he said.
Sources in the Congress say that many smaller outfits of eastern Uttar Pradesh and senior leaders of other parties are likely to join Congress during Priyanka’s stay in Lucknow. Some senior leaders in BSP are in touch with Nasimuddin Siddiqui and have shown their willingness to join Congress, sources say.
Siddiqui, who was a close confidante of Mayawati at one point, is acting as a conduit between Priyanka and the BSP leaders who wish to join the Congress. “Expect a dhamaka within a day or two,” said a senior Congress lawmaker.