Lucknow | Jagran Politics Desk: Ajay Kumar Lallu, Congress' state unit chief, on Sunday declared that the grand old party will contest the upcoming assembly election in Uttar Pradesh under the leadership of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

In an interview with news agency PTI, Lallu said that "winds of change" of change are blowing across Uttar Pradesh, adding that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will lose the upcoming polls. However, he refused to comment over the chief ministerial face of Congress, saying the party's top leadership would decide about that.

"The people of Uttar Pradesh are looking at the Congress with hope. There is a lot of enthusiasm among the workers and under her (Priyanka Gandhi) leadership, the Congress government will be formed in UP," he added.

Lallu also ruled out the possibility of an alliance with the Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), saying the Congress has emerged as the main challenger to the "oppressive" UP government.

"Badlav ki aandhi hai, jiska naam Priyanka Gandhi hai (There is a storm of change and its name is Priyanka Gandhi)," he remarked.

Expressing hopes that Congress will single-handedly win the upcoming polls, Lallu told PTI that the party will ally with issues of the people, farmers, poor, women and the oppressed.

"Be it for farmers, youth or poor in rural areas, Congress has raised its voice on issues such as unemployment, law and order situation, saving lives during the Covid pandemic, on deaths due to spurious liquor, jungle raj and other problems," Lallu told PTI.

"When tribals were killed in Sonbhadra, when injustice was done to Hathras' daughter, when injustice was done to daughters of Unnao and Shahjahanpur, Priyanka Gandhi raised her voice and fought against injustice. When it came to hitting the streets to oppose the farm laws, it was Priyanka Gandhi who did it," Lallu added.

Asserting that Congress workers had taken the fight against the state government to the streets, he claimed that over 1 lakh party workers were have been and cases filed against thousands of them at different points in time.

"I myself have been detained more than 80 times in a year, over 40-50 cases were filed and I went to jail four times," Lallu said.

Talking about the Congress' performance in the panchayat elections, Lallu said 271 of the party-backed candidates were elected, 571 came second while 711 were third.

The Congress got 50 lakh votes in Lok Sabha polls and in the assembly elections, it got 51 lakh votes, but in zila panchayat polls, it got 1,52,00,000 votes, he said, alleging that the SP only "grabbed headlines" by putting their name on winning candidates despite losing out.

"There is frustration and disappointment in BJP and SP, the Congress with its determination is going to make a comeback in UP under Priyanka Gandhi's leadership. We have full faith in the people," he said, stressing that Congress was the BJP's main challenger in the polls.

Pointing out that the party has been strengthened at various levels under Priyanka Gandhi, Lallu said a capable organisation was in place with the appointment of zila committees, block presidents, and setting up of nyaya panchayats and gram sabha units.

"We have 840 block presidents, 8,145 nyay panchayat presidents and in 59,000 villages, we have gram sabha units. We are strengthening booths, training programmes are going on. In light of these developments and on the basis of raising people's issues, we will definitely make a comeback in UP," he said.

Claiming that the three farm laws were a big issue in the state, Lallu said the Congress stood against the laws, and farmers would support the party.

(With inputs from PTI)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma