Soon after RPN Singh quit the Congress and joined the BJP, the Congress conveyed its sharp message in what it said were Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s words.
“The battle the Congress is putting up all across the country, particularly in Uttar Pradesh is a battle against government resources, its agencies. It’s a battle of ideology, truth and to fight a battle as strong pitched as this one you have to fight it with courage and a lot of dedication. I don’t think this fight is meant for cowards,” Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate told reporters.
“As Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, to fight this battle you need to be on your toe, you need to have courage, you cannot be a coward and fight this battle,” she added.
Priyanka Gandhi is leading the Congress campaign in UP. Since she took over as the party’s UP in-charge in 2019, she has lost three big leaders in the state.
Jyotiraditya Scindia was in charge of UP along with Priyanka Gandhi in the 2019 national election but the next year, he quit the party and took many Madhya Pradesh MLAs with him, causing the Congress government in the state to crash.
Last year, Jitin Prasada, a key Brahmin face of the party in UP, quit and joined the BJP.
All three, Mr Scindia, Mr Prasada and RPN Singh, were close to the Gandhis and were part of the so-called inner circle of Rahul Gandhi.
Mr Singh was also one of the Congress’s most prominent OBC (Other Backward Class) leaders in Uttar Pradesh.
For the BJP, the onboarding of Mr Singh and Akhilesh Yadav’s relative Aparna Yadav fixes the optics after several backward caste leaders quit the party in recent weeks.
UP will vote in seven phases from February 10. The votes will be counted on March 10.