Bitterness against Jaiswal and in Cong too
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In Kanpur, home ground of Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, one of the Congress's many hurdles is infighting as it seeks to improve on the two seats it won (out of seven then) in this BJP stronghold in 2007.
Another challenge is the city's problems, mainly its dying industries. The party is hoping to have earned some goodwill with the implementation of JNNURM projects, though that too has been late.
Being a Union minister makes Jaiswal the target of people's anger. He does enjoy a clean image but he is also seen as aloof from the common man, moving with only the elite. Jaiswal heads the campaign committee for the UP elections.
The infighting is largely between Jaiswal and Govind Nagar MLA Ajai Kapoor, now contesting from Kidwai Nagar, a new seat. During the Prime Minister's rally last week, Jaiswal praised the former for the promises he had made in 2009 for Kanpur's revival Kapoor pointed out that many of those promises were yet to be fulfilled. Jaiswal is said to be trying to cut Kapoor to size. And Rahul Gandhi took his roadshow to two seats in the city but skipped Kidwai Nagar, apparently because of Kapoor's rift with Jaiswal.
Kapoor, who is alleged to have worked against Jaiswal's interests in 2009, is incidentally related to BJP leader Satish Mahana, who was contesting against Jaiswal.
Many feel Jaiswal hasn't been proactive enough about reviving industries. "He has been chosen MP twice on the same promise, reviving the factories... The workers are left gasping for breath," says Rama Shankar Pandey, who works at Lal Imli.
The Central undertaking, formerly British India Corporation, was once the largest supplier of woollens to defence personnel. Today it stares at possible closure. Pandey accuses Jaiswal of not wanting to revive these factories. "He is only interested in selling the land cheap." Indeed, Jaiswal and other leaders have said the party wants to revive only a few units; the land of the rest should be sold but the state government has not allowed it.