New Delhi, June 13: Amid demands that Priyanka Gandhi lead the party’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh, Congress today signalled it could declare a chief ministerial candidate ahead of the key Assembly polls early next year. “I am sure before elections, the plan is, there will be a face…”, newly appointed party General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad said, when asked whether the party would project a CM candidate in Uttar Pradesh. Also Read - UP: Man Chops Off His Tongue as Offering to God at Banda Temple
“We will project a Congress face”, he said when reporters persisted with their question about whether it would be Priyanka or would she be projected as party’s face in the 2019-Lok Sabha polls. Maintaining that he has not discussed the issue with either the state or national leaders, the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha said the party would opt for a leader who takes everyone along. “If we strengthen the party at every level, it will throw up a leadership”, he said when asked whether the CM candidate will be from forward or backward castes. Also Read - PM Modi Has Decided 'Date of War' With Pakistan & China: UP BJP Chief's Controversial Remark
Asked whether the Congress would go for alliances like in Bihar, he said as of now the party’s plans is to go it alone. “Bihar is Bihar.UP is UP”, he said discounting the possibility of any tie-up with BSP. “At the moment, we are not thinking or talking of alliances”, Azad, who has been appointed the party General Secretary in charge of UP for the third time, said. At a time when BJP president Amit Shah is raising the issue of “migration” of Hindus from the western UP town Kairana, Azad said the “biggest challenge” is how to defeat the “great design of communal polarisation”. Also Read - Uttar Pradesh: Teen Girl Thrown Off Terrace After Objecting Harassment; 3 Men Arrested
He said the “biggest challenge” is how to stop communal tensions being generated by some national and state parties to divide the people on communal lines as part of a “great design” to seek electoral dividend. Azad who will be visiting Lucknow on Thursday remained non-committal on questions whether he planned to have changes in the PCC.
On Prashant Kishor, the poll strategist who has been roped in by the party to aid and assist its UP and Punjab units, he said Prashant’s role is “very important” and his team and the party should “supplement, complement and support each other”. In UP, Congress had secured just two seats in the last Lok Sabha elections with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi emerging victorious from their traditional seats of Rae Bareli and Amethi respectively. The Congress is in political wilderness in UP since 1989 following emergence of divisive ‘Mandal-Mandir’ politics and rise of the BSP, which took away its crucial dalit vote base.