Lucknow, Mar 1: Uttar Pradesh Congress President Raj Babbar, as well as Ghulam Nabi Azad, General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee and also in-charge of the Party affairs of the state were reported to be on their way out.
Senior Congress sources here on Thursday maintained that the new president of the Party, Rahul Gandhi, had made up his mind to replace both soon after completion of the three day AICC session beginning in New Delhi from March 16.
There was also speculation that Nasimuddin Siddique, who had recently joined the party could be made the state president. However, Shivpal Singh Yadav, the rebel uncle of Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav too could join the Congress during the AICC session and then he could be the strongest candidate for the state president.
Interestingly after the result of recent civic elections in the State left a sour note for Congress, which also performed poorly in the traditional strongholds of Amethi and Rae Bareli districts, the Party had no hope and even apprehensive that both their candidates in Phulpur and Gorakhpur by-polls scheduled for March 11, might lose their deposits.
A senior leader in the AICC claimed that when the Party had made a massive improvement in the BJP stronghold areas like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan etc, in Uttar Pradesh, where the two regional parties, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party had a better stake, the BJP had sidelined both but was surprising is that the Congress was pushed to the new bottom.
The leader said this worst performance was witnessed when Raj Babbar, having a large mass appeal and veteran Party leader, Gulam Nabi Azad was leading the party in the state.
Citing the results, the leader said that in the first election, 2014 Parliament elections fought under Azad and Babbar, only Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi somehow managed to retain their seats bringing the Party’s tally from 22 in 2009 to just 2 in 2014. Again in 2017 Assembly elections, the Party never in the history had not able to reach even to the double figure. The Party only managed to send 7 MLAs to the Assembly that too when they fought in alliance with Samajwadi Party. He claimed that Babbar offered to resign but Rahul still gave him more opportunity to improve the thing in UP.
According to the leader, the high command got the biggest upset from UP when they found that during the recent civic polls, Babbar and his team could not even find a suitable candidate for any Mayor seat including in Lucknow. The leader said that what is more shocking for the party than to find that in Lucknow, where they were number two in the past mayoral elections in the State capital, in this poll they also lost even their deposit. The leader claimed that in wake of all these and finding that many allegations were also made that non-political leaders were given the command to run Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee by Babbar, Rahul Gandhi has made up his mind and would remove both Azad and Babbar soon after the AICC session will be over next month.