In February 2012, as Uttar Pradesh was in the course of an electoral battle for the state meeting, the then Congress MP from Amethi, Rahul Gandhi, was on a whirlwind tour of the state addressing electoral rallies. On one such day, as he flew from one meeting constituency to a different in jap Uttar Pradesh, his final stoppage was scheduled in Tamkuhi Raj, a Vidhan Sabha seat in Kushinagar district.

The Congress candidate from the seat was Ajay Kumar Lallu, a 32-year-old chief who had joined the social gathering simply a few months in the past. Many among the many bigwigs of the Congress didn’t know him, and even a fewer believed he may ever win. Guided by this opinion, a senior chief accompanying Rahul Gandhi that night suggested him to skip the Tamkuhi Raj rally because it was already getting late.






THE DARK HORSE

Rahul Gandhi neglected the recommendation and determined to maintain a promise to Lallu, a nervous younger chief whose solely declare to Congress ticket was that he, as an impartial, had polled extra votes than the Congress’s candidate within the 2007 elections. The cause why Rahul Gandhi didn’t pay heed to his aide’s recommendation was as a result of he had inputs that Lallu may spring a shock.

And Lallu did spring a shock. When the outcomes got here, he emerged because the darkish horse. The man who had polled simply round 3,500 votes in 2007 had now gained the seat, defeating the much-known BJP and SP candidates. The man from the backward neighborhood, who had neither a powerful caste base nor the deep pockets to gasoline the polls, had polled over 53,000 votes.

Rahul Gandhi was good in his expertise hunt. Ajay Kumar Lallu was in stark distinction to every thing that Congress leaders over the previous few many years had develop into image of. He had no pedigree, no riches and no godfather in politics. His solely funding in politics was his relentless wrestle for his folks and his solely achieve was the assist and respect he had earned from them.

As Lallu turned one of many 28 Congressmen within the Vidhan Sabha, the subsequent few years had been of restricted highlight on the person, who nonetheless tried to maintain tempo with “Congress way of politics”. He had no vital place within the organisation and no main say amongst extra vocal and extra media-savvy colleagues of his within the legislative meeting.

WINDS OF CHANGE

Though late, however winds of change did are available 2017. Amidst the Saffron Tsunami of the BJP, all of the sitting Congress MLAs, besides Lallu and Aradhna Mishra Mona, misplaced the Vidhan Sabha elections. While Lallu was fully a self-made success story, Mona’s victory is also attributed to his father Pramod Tiwari’s immense political stature.

Soon after, he was appointed because the chief of the now simply seven-member Congress social gathering within the Vidhan Sabha. Though Priyanka Gandhi was but to be formally appointed as the overall secretary in-charge of the UP Congress, Lallu’s elevation as CLP Leader was seen as her selection.

TEAM PRIYANKA-LALLU GETS WINGS

In early 2019, simply earlier than the Lok Sabha polls, it was time for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to make the leap in politics. She was appointed because the Congress nationwide normal secretary and given accountability as in-charge of jap Uttar Pradesh.

MLA from Tamkuhi Raj, Ajay Lallu, was the person constantly noticed alongside along with her on the uncharted territory of the area. From Priyanka’s “boat yatra” on River Ganga to rallies throughout East UP, Lallu was seen as a person busy within the political wrestle along with his chief. It was the time of accelerating belief on Lallu’s picture as a grounded political activist. Bonding with Priyanka Gandhi was additional cemented.

However, Priyanka and her crew comprising of latest faces each from organisation and drawn out of college campuses just like the JNU failed to jot down a hit story as Congress confronted the second-worst electoral humiliation basically elections in Uttar Pradesh. The social gathering may simply win one seat of Rai Bareilly. Despite the loss, Priyanka Gandhi’s religion in her crew had gained extra roots.

WITH NEW RESPONSIBILITY, LALLU SETS IN THE CHANGE

By the top of 2019, driving on the belief of the Gandhis and the highest management, with a willingness to usher in a brand new vigour within the social gathering, Lallu was elevated because the social gathering’s state president. The two-term MLA appears to be matching the hopes of his chief. The social gathering, which was not recognized for hitting the roads and staging avenue protests, is now confronting the federal government in a brand new avatar.

Lallu is main the change from the entrance. From the difficulty of migrant labourers through the lockdown to continued political assault in opposition to the BJP on problems with legislation and order, he has been probably the most seen face of resistance on the roads. No shock then that he has been slapped with dozens of FIRs over the previous few months, taken in police custody on greater than 30 events and spent at the least a month in jail after being arrested following the “buses for migrant labourers” controversy earlier in June.

UNWAVERING AND UNCONQUERED

It’s uncommon in Congress historical past that the Gandhis have so brazenly stood by and endorsed any of their leaders. So when Priyanka Gandhi wrote an open letter of assist for Lallu after he was arrested, it got here as a shock to many. Priyanka Gandhi described her chief as ‘adig aur ajay “lallu” meaning “unwavering and unconquered”. As she went on to shower praise on her state president, the larger message to the Congress’s previous lot was clear. The letter was a sign to social gathering’s rank and file concerning the type of organisation and politics the Gandhis now cherish.

CHALLENGES AND ROAD AHEAD

Recently, when requested by Information18 about his fashion of politics, Lallu had mentioned he is humbled by the appreciation he will get from his high management however “I put myself in the front because I feel it is my responsibility to lead my workers from the front”. “Gone are the days of arm chair-drawing room politics, especially when people are suffering so much because of BJP’s policies,” he had added.

However, amid his new fashion of political activism, a persisting problem earlier than him and his crew is to win over the older lot. Many from the old fashioned of politics throughout the social gathering aren’t snug with the adjustments. In the run-up to 2022 meeting elections, it is a difficulty that must be resolved on the earliest.