The recent protest by Congress leaders and workers to espouse the cause of Unnao rape victim has brought to the for the infighting within the grand old party which is gasping for survival in Uttar Pradesh.
A large section of the party has been against Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s decision to give more power and responsibility to Congress Legislature Party leader Ajay Kumar ‘Lalu’.
Without coming out in the open, a majority of UP Congressmen leave no stone unturned to prove that Priyanka has taken a wrong decision.
Opposition to Lalu leading any programme is so conspicuous that when Priyanka sat on a protest for meeting the kin of Sonbhadra massacre victims on July 19, UPCC chief Raj Babbar could find time to join her at the protest the next day. Also, while Lalu has been leading from the front in organising dharnas and protests in support of the Unnao rape victim, Babbar is conspicuously absent.
In fact, after a message was flashed about the recent protest in front of Bharatiya Janata Party state office in Lucknow by Lalu, several Congress leaders, including a former MLA from east UP, informed him that he would not be coming. On being told that Lalu would only be present and no one would lead the protesters, he finally chose to turn up.
A former UPCC chief is also opposed to Lalu. On condition of anonymity, he asked whether Priyanka did not have any competent leader in the party to revive the party in east UP and chose to give powers to Lalu, who was already CLP leader.
Lalu is heading a team entrusted to find out competent leaders to be appointed as district and city unit chiefs of the Congress in east UP. But a large number of leaders are ganging up against him, and rumours are afloat that he might be appointed as UP Congress chief.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that the question in the minds of women and girls in UP was whether voices against a resourceful person, who has done wrong, would be heard.
Her remarks came after a girl student in Barabanki on Wednesday asked a police officer if she would face the same fate as the Unnao rape victim.
Priyanka tweeted in Hindi, “If some resourceful person does anything wrong then will our voices against him be heard. This is the question posed to the UP government by a girl student from Barabanki at an awareness rally. This question is in the minds of all girls and women in UP. BJP must answer,” she said.
Meanwhile in Lucknow, CLP leader Ajay Kumar Lalu told media persons on Thursday that the apex court’s ruling vis-à-vis the Unnao rape victim and its setting a 45-day deadline for the trial in rape case, reiterated the party’s faith in Indian judiciary.
“Now it seems that justice will be delivered as the case has been transferred to a special court in Delhi,” Lalu said.
In the presence of Congress veteran Pramod Tewari, Lalu said that the apex court’s decision vindicated the Congress contention that jungle raj prevailed in UP and that a victim could not get justice in BJP rule.
“The apex court exposed the insensitivity of BJP government in UP and also highlighted the fear among people due to deteriorating law and order. Both the rape victim and her lawyer should get adequate treatment as their survival is key to conviction of rape accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar. I also urge that Sengar be shifted to Tihar jail to prevent him from influencing the probe and a compensation of Rs 1 crore be given to the victim,” the CLP leader said.
Lalu also said that the Congress members would move a letter before UP Assembly Speaker to disqualify Sengar from the House.