The Congress on Saturday appointed Dalit leader Brijlal Khabri as its Uttar Pradesh unit chief and named six regional chiefs as part of efforts to revive its fortunes in the politically crucial state ahead of the 2024 general elections. The appointments come months after Ajay Lallu resigned as the state unit chief following the party’s crushing defeat in the 2022 Assembly polls.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi appointed Khabri, a former BSP leader, as the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president, along with naming Nasimuddin Siddiqui, Ajai Rai, Virendra Chaudhary, Nakul Dubey, Anil Yadav and Yogesh Dixit as regional chiefs in the state unit, a party statement said. Party sources said that as part of its strategy to strengthen the organisation, the UP Congress has divided the entire state into six parts — Paschim, Braj, Awadh, Bundelkhand, Prayag and Purvanchal — on a politico-cultural basis.
National Secretaries have already been posted in every zone by party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Now each zone will have a president. The party has also sought to balance caste equations with the new appointments. The UP Congress has given a message to the Dalit society by appointing Khabri as its president. The regional heads include two Brahmins, a Muslim, a Bhumihar and two from backward castes, the sources said.
Chaudhary will head the Purvanchal region, Ajay Rai would head Prayag, Nakul Dubey Awadh, Anil Yadav (Etawa) Braj, Siddiqui will look after Paschim and Dixit after Bundelkhand, they said. Khabri quit the BSP in 2016 and joined the Congress.
In March, Khabri’s predecessor Lallu stepped down from the post of UP Congress president after the party bagged just two seats out of 403 in the Assembly polls despite an aggressive campaign by Vadra.