The Congress is on the way to forming UPA-3 and its electoral performance will be much beyond the expectations of many people, says senior party leader Salman Khurshid, asserting that surprises are in store as far as Uttar Pradesh poll results are concerned.
Khurshid, who has been the chief of the Congress’ UP unit twice in the past, said he would not be surprised if the party matches or betters its 2009 performance in the state when it won 21 seats.
“2009 performance (in UP) was a very good performance in terms of circumstances that existed. Therefore, the 2009 performance is a high benchmark, but I would not be surprised at all if we touch that benchmark and even exceed it. There are all kinds of surprises in store as far as UP (poll result) is concerned,” he said in an interview at his residence in Kaimganj.
Asked if the Congress nationally also could match its 2009 performance when it won 205 seats, Khurshid said he has no doubt that the Congress could do so.
The former Union minister said he sees a similar feeling on the ground. However, he also acknowledged that many challenges such as the “mean attitudes and mechanisms” being unleashed against the Congress exist.
“But, I am quite sure that given the mix of circumstances and the enthusiasm which our workers, excited by the new leadership, have shown, we will do much beyond the expectations of many people and certainly we would be way ahead of all the other parties and indeed, we will be in a position to form the government,” he asserted.
Khurshid, who is the Congress’ candidate from Farrukhabad, of which Kaimganj assembly segment is a part, is locked in a triangular contest with BJP’s sitting MP Mukesh Rajput and BSP’s Manoj Agarwal.
He asserted that the “Priyanka factor” was also at work and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s campaign was generating a “huge amount of excitement” among the party workers.
“You can see from wherever she has gone, the crowds she has been receiving. It is not just a novelty factor, it is not just a curiosity factor. I think there’s a substantive response and excitement and I believe it augurs very well for the party,” the 66-year-old leader said.
Asked about chances of a United Progressive Alliance-3 government at the Centre, Khurshid said he is hopeful that there will be a UPA-3.
“I think everybody thinks it is inevitable. The contours and the colour of UPA-3 may still be debatable and may be subject to the outcome of results on May 23, but I am quite certain we are on the way to forming UPA-3, hopefully relieving the country from the horrible experience of the last five years,” Khurshid said.
Manmohan Singh was prime minister in the first and second United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments between 2004 and 2014.
Hailing the Congress’ minimum income guarantee scheme NYAY, the Congress leader said he cannot believe that it will not have an electoral impact.
He said the proposed scheme is being very well received.
Khurshid cited the Congress’ loan waiver in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, to claim that people are confident that it has kept its promises in the past and the “Congress doesn’t just say, or just speak in the air”.
“It has been done in the three states recently and people are responding to that. The Rs 72,000 a year to women of below poverty line families is something that you can see a palpable excitement about in meetings where it is raised. We raise this issue everywhere,” Khurshid said.