Nora Chopra

Uttar Pradesh this time will be the battle ground of three women -- Anupriya Patel of BJP, Mayawati of  the BSP and, of course, Priyanka Gandhi of the Congress. BJP which forced a split in Anupriya Patel’s family has promised to project her as the chief ministerial candidate. Patel has inherited her father Sonelal Patel’s kurmi backward legacy. She is well educated and articulate. It is for these reasons that the BJP president Amit Shah made her first join the BJP and then promised her the CM’s seat. The BJP unlike Bihar where they depended only on the face of Narendra Modi has started to focus on caste, particularly on the OBC category, as the other two UP parties that have ruled the state for the last three decades are basically OBC dalit parties. It is to counter the Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s BSP that Amit Shah is focussing on the OBCs and MBCs. First, with an eye on behenji’s vote bank, Shah appointed Keshav Prasad Maurya, an MBC as their state chief.  And now after much brain drill, they have decided to project Anupriya Patel as the CM candidate for 2017 assembly polls in UP.  


Allahabad and Delhi are abuzz with speculation that Rahul Gandhi is getting married soon. Wedding preparations are said to be going on at his ancestral house Anand Bhawan in Allahabad. The girl is supposed to be a Kashniri Brahmin girl, said to be the daughter of a very close friend of Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi. The speculation started after Sonia Gandhi visited last month accompanied by friend’s daughter and stayed at Anand Bhawan. It was presumed that Sonia Gandhi had brought her future daughter-in-law to show her Anand Bhawan. However, as yet there is no clarity on the matter with those involved refusing to confirm or deny reports of an impending wedding. Meanwhile according to one report, the girl is said to be the daughter of a former foreign secretary, close to the Gandhi family. 


Despite Priyanka Gandhi, the Congress is not sure of winning in Uttar Pradesh. General secretary-in charge Ghulam Nabi Azad is planning an alliance on the lines of Bihar. He is negotiating with behenji for either a covert alliance with seat adjustments in over 100 seats or an overt alliance with Congress fighting just 170 seats and the rest going to BSP. Mayawati too neds the Congress in these crucial times when the BJP is out to break her party. Besides beheji, the Congress is even in talks with the jat leader Ajit Singh and even with the kurmi Apna Dal leaders opposed to the BJP. The alliance talk has been initiated at Piyanka’s behest. The thinking in the party is that Priyanka should not be burdened with the victory pressures. In an alliance, Priyanka can pass on the buck on the alliance partner..


The new Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar is neither a Brahmin nor a Muslim but the charismatic film star Babbar got this lucky assignment because of the infighting amongst the Brahmin leaders. There was hectic lobbying before the high command zeroed in on Babbar. He was the choice of both Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi. Though a Rajya Sabha member from Uttarakhand, Babbar has been acceptable to all castes as well as to Muslims because of his Muslim wife. The other choice Sanjay Singh who was offered the post of chairman campaign committee, is said to have refused to accept the post. But despite the fact that he is casteless Khatri like his predecessor Nirmal Khatri, his advantage of being Raj Babbar is that he would now be used as a poster boy of the Congress and the strings will be pulled from behind by Delhi and especially by Ghulam Nabi Azad. (IPA)

Sunday, 17 July, 2016