The Congress amid the faceoff with the BJP over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, is seen giving more importance to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Rajasthan leader Sachin Pilot.
Baghel went twice to Lucknow, once with Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday and previously alone on Tuesday and had even sat on a sit-in protest while Pilot was called from Jaipur to go to Lucknow by road. The Congress through this agitation is trying to put its house in order where the internal rift has deepened.
The Congress is facing internal problems in the states specially in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan where T.S. Singhdeo and Sachin Pilot have claimed the post of Chief Minister and the party is finding it tough to balance both the factions in the two states.
Similarly in Haryana, Priyanka took Deepender Hooda with her while Randeep Singh Surjewala accompanied Rahul Gandhi to Lucknow. After the Punjab issue, the party is facing a tough task in the states where it is in power. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi too accompanied Rahul Gandhi to Lucknow.
Over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, the Congress is trying to establish itself not only in Uttar Pradesh but also eyeing Uttarakhand and Punjab as well. All the three states will go to the polls early next year.
Earlier, UP officials finally allowed Congress MP Rahul Gandhi to leave the Lucknow airport. A huge crowd had gathered at the airport to welcome the Congress leader who was accompanied by the Chief Ministers of Chhattisgarh and Punjab.
Less than an hour after the Uttar Pradesh government said Gandhi would be allowed to visit Lakhimpur Kheri – where violence at a farmers’ protest on Sunday had left at least nine people dead, security personnel stopped him at the Lucknow airport. An angry Rahul, who was accompanied by Baghel and Channi, sat on a ‘dharna’ at the airport.
“Show this scene… they (the UP government) said that we are free to go and now they are stopping us. What kind of permission is this? This is Uttar Pradesh government’s permission,” he told the media.
Asked whether he was on a dharna now, Gandhi said: “Kya karun? I will sit here.”