The Congress has found its first ally to fight the general elections in Uttar Pradesh with the grand old party announcing on Wednesday that it will tie up with the little-known Mahan Dal.
The Mahan Dal is an OBC outfit with some influence in few western UP districts. The Mahan Dal had secured 0.11 per cent votes 2017 assembly polls.
“I welcome Mahan Dal, Rahulji wants us to take all communities together. We will fight the 2019 polls with all our might,” Congress general secretary in charge of eastern U.P. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said.
Priyanka has been in Lucknow since Monday to prepare the party in eastern Uttar Pradesh for the coming Lok Sabha elections after launching a massive roadshow for ‘Mission UP’ in her first visit to the state since her appointment as Congress general secretary last month.
Along with another Congress general secretary , Jyotiraditya Scindia, she has been holding separate closed-door meetings with party workers in Lucknow.
Uttar Pradesh which sends 80 lawmakers of the Lok Sabha is the bellwether state for any party which seeks to form a government at the Centre. The Congress won only two Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in 2014
Left out in the cold by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and BSP, the Congress has been looking for allies in the state for the Lok Sabha polls.
On Tuesday, Akhilesh had said the Congress is part of the opposition alliance that his party has stitched in Uttar Pradesh against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition for the upcoming Lok Sabha election. He said two seats were given to the Congress in the alliance.
Although Priyanka’s appointment has energised the party, it faces an uphill task given an almost total absence of organisational base in the state. The Congress had been trying to explore the possibilities of allying with some smaller caste-based outfits.
Last month, former SP leader Shivpal Singh Yadav, who has formed Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP) after leaving his parent party following differences with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, appointed a key party member to talk to the Congress and other secular parties for an alliance ahead of the general elections.