LUCKNOW: When Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tried to meet the injured tribals and families of the 11 killed in the July 17 Umbha massacre, she was stopped in Mirzapur and detained at Chunar Guest House.
She refused to leave without meeting the victims and spent the night at the guest house and finally met some families who were brought to the guest house. Ramrajya Gond, a young man from Umbha village had managed to contact Priyanka and helped her connect with the grieving families. Three months since, on Tuesday, Gond was appointed as chief of the party’s Sonbhadra unit even as heads of Amethi and Rae Bareli district units were removed.
Party sources said Gond was hand-picked and rewarded by Priyanka.
“Ramrajya Gond, 32, a graduate, has been raising the issues of tribals but was booked under Goonda act by government,” said UP Congress general secretary Rakesh Sachan.
Ramrajya’s father Bahadur was village head of Umbha and was head of block-level Congress committee. “The announcement has come as a surprise. Priyanka didi has entrusted a big responsibility to me. I don’t believe in making tall claims... my work will speak instead,” Ramrajya told TOI.
“A large number of tribals live in Sonbhadra. A lot needs to be done to bring them in the mainstream,” he added.
On July 17, the main accused, village head Yagyadatt, and his aides had attacked tribals in an attempt to evict them forcefully from the land. As many as 11 persons were killed and over two dozen injured in the indiscriminate firing.
Meanwhile, the party appointed 51 district level heads on Tuesday, a task pending since July 2017 when Raj Babbar took charge of UP Congress.
The party has replaced its Amethi and Rae Bareli district heads. Pradeep Singhal has been appointed in place of Yogendra Mishra in Amethi, the seat Congress lost in Lok Sabha elections, Pankaj Tewari has been chosen to lead Rae Bareli unit instead of V K Shukla.
“The appointments are in consonance with party’s philosophy. Committed cadres, student leaders and social activists have been made the face of party’s unit in districts,” said UP Congress administrative department in-charge Siddhartpriya Srivastava.