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Congress likely to bring in Brahmin face as UP Chief to woo back traditional supporters

The party is likely to replace Ghulam Nabi Azaad also as in-charge of Uttar Pradesh. Plans are afoot to divide the state into four zones and appoint four Vice-Presidents to head these zones under the new UPCC Chief.

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Congress likely to bring in Brahmin face as UP Chief to woo back traditional supporters
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Playing the caste card, the Congress is likely to name a Brahmin face to head its Uttar Pradesh unit in place of Raj Babbar, who reportedly resigned as UPCC Chief on Tuesday after owning responsibility of party losing deposits in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha by-polls. Though confusion over his resignation remained on Wednesday as Congress leader Pramod Tiwari claimed that reports of Raj Babbar's resignation were not true. 

According to our sources, Raj Babbar submitted his resignation to the AICC President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday. Raj Babbar is likely to contest again from Fatehpur Sikri in 2019 and would actively campaign for the party.

 

Raj Babbar was also instrumental in calling off party’s alliance with the Samajwadi Party after 2017 assembly poll debacle. He had fielded party candidates in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha by-polls ignoring SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav’s request to contest jointly. “Talks on opposition alliance with BSP, SP, and others in Uttar Pradesh were not possible if he had remained as UPCC Chief. It’s good that he quit himself after seeing which way the wind was blowing,” reacted a senior UPCC functionary.

UPCC sources claimed that the party is thinking of giving the command to a Brahmin leader to bring its traditional supporters back into party fold ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Constituting about 12 per cent, Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh are annoyed with the BJP following Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath promoting Thakurs only. In Gorakhpur polls, they voted for Samajwadi Party candidate in large numbers.

The party is likely to replace Ghulam Nabi Azaad also as in-charge of Uttar Pradesh. Plans are afoot to divide the state into four zones and appoint four Vice-Presidents to head these zones under the new UPCC Chief.

Pramod Tiwari tops the names circulated in social media and party circles followed by former Union Minister Jitin Prasad, ex-MP Rajesh Mishra, and former MLA Laliteshpati Tripathi.

Ten-time party MLA, Pramod Tiwari is retiring from Rajya Sabha next month and may suit the bill among other probable. Despite all odds, he is the only Congress leader in the state who never lost an election from his assembly constituency Rampur Khas in Pratagarh. His daughter Aradhana is now representing the seat after he became Rajya Sabha member.

Former CLP Leader Tiwari has good relations with both the Samajwadi Party and the BSP and may play a crucial role in forging a grand alliance with the two to take on the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

However, the name of ex-IAS, former MP and SC/ST Commission Chairman P.L. Punia is also in circulation but party high command may not prefer him for the simple reason that he may spoil chances of any future relations with BSP on the alliance. Punia was thrice Mayawati’s Principal Secretary but both fell apart over Taj Corridor scam.   

"Party high command is unlikely to have a caste clash with its possible future alliance partners in UP. In the given political situation, Brahmin leader is the best choice to head the party to avoid any clash with the backward-Dalit leadership of SP and BSP," pointed the senior party leader.

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