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New UPCC chief Ajai Rai says Amethi remembers Rahul fondly (IANS Interview)

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New UPCC chief Ajai Rai says Amethi remembers Rahul fondly (IANS Interview)

Ajai Rai
Ajai Rai

Lucknow, Aug 27 (IANS) Five-term MLA Ajai Rai, who challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, has assumed charge as the new president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC).

After assuming office, in an interview with IANS, he said that the public is now frustrated with the false promises of the BJP and is once again remembering Congress leader and former Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi.  The Congress will hold full-fledged preparations for the 2024 elections, and in the coming days, we will hit the streets to expose the BJP.

Ajai Rai is a prominent and strong leader from Purvanchal. He not only has the responsibility of strengthening the party but also faces the significant challenge of leading the Congress in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

This challenge is even tougher because the Congress is up against a strong party like the BJP, which is considered skilled in the art of election management. 

When asked about senior BJP leader Smriti Irani consistently targeting Rahul Gandhi after his announcement of contesting from Amethi, Ajai replied that when a person speaks falsehoods and indulges in deceit, it troubles them.

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“Smriti had said during the elections, “Press the lotus button and take Rs 13 per kg of sugar.” Today, she is the MP from Amethi and is not able to provide sugar for Rs 13. That’s why she is worried and anxious,” he said.

Ajai said: “Rahul Gandhi’s connection with Amethi is not just political but generational. The people there remember his tenure. The people of Amethi demand that Rahul Gandhi should contest the next election from here because he has never relied on lies to win elections.”

Sharing about the challenges faced after becoming the UPCC president, he said there are about eight months left for the Lok Sabha elections. In such a scenario, we are preparing our organisation vigorously. During this time, you will also witness our struggle on the streets. 

Ajai added: “We will expose the BJP’s facade in front of the public. These people are sitting in power and only practicing tyranny and injustice. They are only using the ED, CBI, and bulldozer. We need to remove fear from people’s minds. We need to remove them (BJP) from power.

While answering a question on the Congress’s preparations for the Lok Sabha elections, he said that the party is fully prepared. The public stands against them (BJP). People are joining the Congress with enthusiasm. There is enthusiasm among the workers. People will provide full support and cooperation. The upcoming year 2024 belongs to the Congress.

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Responding to a question that some people in your party are unhappy after you became the president, he said that the Congress would be seen fighting on issues together. We will solve the problems together.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) is also a part of the INDIA alliance, even before this your party alliance was with them, its results were not very special. In response to this, Ajai Rai said that the central leadership will decide on the alliance. We will give suggestions. Currently, we are preparing for all 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Decisions on all matters will be taken by the central leadership.

Regarding the seats in the Lok Sabha elections, the SP has said that the Congress  should have a big heart. On the formula of seat sharing, Ajai said that things are happening if you have a big heart. The person in front has to have a big heart.  Nothing will be achieved with a small heart. Time will tell how things will turn out. The allocation of seats and everything else will be decided by the central leadership.

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On the possibility of Lalitesh Pati Tripathi joining the party, he said that he has to decide. Kamalapati Tripathi is highly respected. After becoming the president, I have taken blessings by garlanding his idol. In such a situation, they have to decide for themselves where to stay.

In the Bhoomihar society of Purvanchal, Ajai is a strong face. By making him the president, the Congress has played a good card. He started his political journey from the BJP, then moved to the Samajwadi Party, and then joined Congress while being associated with the Samajwadi Party.  He joined the BJP in 1996.

He remained a MLA until 2007. After that, due to differences with the BJP, he joined the Samajwadi Party. In 2009, he contested against BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi and lost. Later he won a by-election from Pindara as an independent candidate and became a MLA. Later, he joined the Congress.

Rai has twice contested the Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He contested in 2014 and then again in 2019.

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