Congress's Bharat Jodo Yatra will be entering Uttar Pradesh after a 9-day break, on 3 January.
The party has been trying to get on board Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party (SP), Jayant Chaudhary of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Mayawati of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for the Uttar Pradesh leg.
However, none of the leaders have accepted the invitation citing prior committments as one of the reasons. The refusal to be part of Congress's move to seek another reinvention of Gandhi scion, points at the growing irrelevance of the party in the state, as well as, at a national level.
In 2017, Samajwadi Party had fought the Uttar Pradesh elections with Congress as an alliance partner. The alliance lost power to the BJP, with the SP coming down from 224 seats in 2012 to mere 47 seats as against BJP's 312.
In 2019 general elections, SP dumped Congress and joined hands with its arch-rival BSP to upset the ruling BJP in the state. However, the alliance ended up benefiting BSP more.
In the 2022 elections, Samajwadi Party went with other smaller parties and increased its seat tally to 111 seats. The Congress, meanwhile, under the leadership of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, was decimated.
With Congress's back to back defeats, and its inability to look beyond the Gandhi family name, its centrality to the Indian polity has been on a diminishing trend.
Except Shiv Sena's Aaditya Thackeray and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)'s Kanimozhi, most of the opposition parties have given Gandhi's another coming of age attempt a miss. Even Tejaswi Yadav, Nitish Kumar, and Mamata Banerjee have decided to stay out.
The journey that has been touted as Gandhi's spiritual trek has not impressed many in the political circles.
With the latest snub from the Uttar Pradesh leaders, a state that sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha, a strong message is being sent. Congress's 'nth' attempt to force Rahul Gandhi as the national alternative is not welcomed.
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