In a setback to the Congress, senior leader and former MP from Unnao, Annu Tandon on Thursday resigned from the primary membership of the party citing "misalignment with the state-level leadership."
The resignation comes a week ahead of the bypoll in Bangarmau constituency which falls in the Unnao district. Tandon has blamed state Congress/local leaders for sidelining her and spreading canards about her. She said that she had raised the issue with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra but there was no forward movement on her complaints.
Tandon had won the Unnao seat for Congress in 2009 Lok Sabha polls when the party registered its best performance since 1991 in UP during a general election.
The Congress was hopeful of a good performance in the Bangarmau bypoll. The bypoll has been necessitated due to the disqualification of sitting BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar who was convicted with a life sentence in the 2017 Unnao gang-rape case.
The Congress has fielded the only woman candidate on the seat – 53-year-old Aarti Bajpai, who has been campaigning on the plank of women safety. She is the daughter of former UP home minister Gopinath Dikshit who won the Bangarmau seat 5 times during the time the Congress was still popular in UP.
When Tandon had won Unnao, she had relied heavily on the Dikshit family's support in the constituency. However, sources say, her equations with Aarti deteriorated over the past few years. Also, Tandon has frosty ties with UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu and the new crop of grassroots workers that have gained prominence in the state unit since Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took over as general secretary in-charge of the state unit
Though Tandon isn't a mass leader in UP and has also progressively lost her popularity in Unnao since her 2009 victory, her resignation is bound to harm the party's prospects simply due to the optics of a woman leader quitting the party citing a smear campaign against her by colleagues.
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