LUCKNOW: Congress Chief Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra says the focus on caste and religion in Uttar Pradesh politics has made politicians complacent, sidelining them from real issues.
Gandhi admitted that the Congress organization had weakened in the state over the past decades, but the party has been working hard now to rebuild it and reconnect with the public.
On an issue related to the dominance of caste and religion in Uttar Pradesh since 1989, Gandhi told PTI: “It is correct that UP politics has become a matter of caste and religion, but the fact is that this type of politics has not contributed anything to progress, it has not only set back the state but allowed the political class to become complacent.
“The average UP politician thinks he will get votes anyway based on religion and caste, so what need does he have to act on other issues? He can easily put aside the real issues of the public. This is a very unhealthy development in a democracy,” she said.
“It effectively means that development, governance and economics take a back seat as caste and religion-related emotions drive politics,” Gandhi said in written responses to questions sent to him.
“We are the only party that has come up with a well thought out plan for women, youth and indeed for all aspects of the social and political upliftment of the UP and presented it in our manifestos. We believe that the politicians need to be held accountable for governance and development and are spreading that message across the state,” she said.
Asked about the strength of Congress cadres in Uttar Pradesh, as the party has not been in power for 33 years, Gandhi said: “Our organization within the UP has gradually weakened over the past decades. .For a number of elections due to alliances, we didn’t even field candidates for two or three hundred seats.”
“What I faced when I came here was an almost complete erosion of our cadre, even though some former members and congresswomen were still strong despite that,” she added. However, fielding candidates out of 400 seats for the ongoing elections in Uttar Pradesh will vomit new leadership and strengthen the Congress, she claimed.
“We have worked very hard to rebuild our party. We have changed the nature of programs so that they reconnect our cadres with the public and no longer remain solely party-centric. We have trained over 100,000 workers and built the organization down to the Nyay panchayat and gram level across the state,” she said.
Elaborating on the steps she has taken to rebuild the party, Gandhi said: “We made sure that whenever the public faced problems over the past few years, our party workers were the first to respond and to fight for their rights, but we have a long way to go in terms of organizational strength on the ground.”
“Development is at the top of our political agenda. We call on women and young people to replace the politics of caste and religion with politics that meets the needs of the public,” she said.
Regarding Congress’ allegations that the BJP is turning away from fundamental development issues and only focusing on terrorism and mafias, she said, “I find it really unfortunate that people are facing such immense problems. , they are unable to make ends meet, they are struggling on a daily basis and yet that is what the BJP leaders spend their time doing.”
“What is polarization after all? It’s a blatant political tool that allows political parties to underperform on all fronts,” she said.
The Congress leader also vowed to continue to fight for the rights of the people of Uttar Pradesh regardless of the election results.
“I will be here to work for the people of UP and fight for them regardless of the outcome of this election. I know my responsibility to them and I feel it deep in my heart,” she said. .
“UP has so much potential, so many skills and abilities and its people are constantly being cheated. They really deserve a policy that puts their needs and aspirations first. I will work very hard to make that possible,” said- he added. added the Congress leader.