Nora Chopra

With the sweeping victory in UP, the spotlight has obviously turned towards the BJP. But days before the announcement of the results of the Assembly elections in five states, Bihar chief minister quietly called on his Orissa counterpart Naveen Patnaik to hold discussion on the forthcoming presidential elections. Reliable sources claim that there was near agreement between the two leaders that the new President to be elected in July this year , should not have any links with the RSS. It is being said that Nitish is keen to bring all non-BJP parties under one umbrella. That way, the presidential polls could witness a fierce competition forcing the Prime Minister to look for a consensus candidate. But with the BJP’s stellar performance in the UP elections is a bid hurdle for Nitish and Naveen.  



Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is under the scanner in the aftermath of the poor show of the Congress in the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand Assembly polls. The rank and file of the Congress are in a state of demoralisation.  The Congress leaders are upset with Rahul for aligning with Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party and for dancing to the tunes of Prashant Kishor. The Congress high command was under tremendous pressure from the Congress workers in UP to go it alone in the state. When Rahul started his kisan yatra, the Congress workers who had become politically idle over the years, had suddenly found a new life, and new hope of revival in the most populous state where their party had ruled for more than 40 years.  The workers in UP had suddenly become active but after the alliance, they were so demoralised that they stopped to work for the party. And in the elections, the Congress workers, mainly upper castes, supported the BJP. This alliance also spelt disaster by pushing the brahmins to the BJP lap from the Congress not only in UP but even in Uttarakhand. After projecting Sheila Dixit who was CM in Delhi for three consecutive terms and the bahu of one of the most illustrious Brahmin families of the state, she was humiliated. The treatment meted out to her, perhaps, became the nemesis of the Congress. The brahmins who were not happy with Narendra Modi and have supported the Congress even when it was out of power, sought shelter in the BJP as they do not trust the SP or the BSP. Similarly in Uttarakhand, the way Harish Rawat treated the brahmins that one after the other Brahmin leaders left the Congress to join the BJP. The Brahmin mukt Congress in Uttarakhand reached its pinnacle when the four times chief minister of united UP and two times CM of Uttarakhand, Narain Dutt Tiwari left the Congress to join the BJP. The exodus of the Brahmins was then complete in an upper caste state dominated by Brahmins and Rajputs. The result was obvious and Harish Rawat lost both his seats.


Another factor being attributed to the Congress leadership is that all the three -- Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Raj Babbar -- were only targeting the muslim votes when there were three other parties who were vying for the same. The votes got divided between the SP, BSP and Owaisi. Even Ajit Singh was eyeing the muslim jat votes.  As the blame game is on, many are even pointing at the infighting within the Congress for the defeat of some important leaders like Jitin Prasad. Prasad is heard blaming Pramod Tiwari and Raj Babbar for his defeat. They did not allow Rahul to visit his constituency and the result is before everyone to see.


The alliance with Samajwadi Party was detrimental to the Congress Party for more than one reason. While Akhilesh Yadav gave 105 seats to the Congress, Akhilesh did not bother to withdraw the candidates who were given tickets by his party  in the constituencies allotted to Congress. There were seventeen such constituencies where the SP and Congress were fighting each other and cutting into each other’ s votes. This is being seen as a major factor that helped the BJP to win these seats. Some of the important Congress leaders had to face these SP rebels like in Amethi Amita (Modi) Singh, wife of chairman of the Congress election campaign committee Sanjay Singh . Amita lost to Sanjay’s first wife Garima Singh of the BJP. Because of Gayatri Prajapati, the Congress lost its sitting seat because SP took away their sitting MLA Maavi Ali and fielded him as SP candidate the result was that both the Congress candidate and the SP candidate lost. Similarly, in Saharanpur Imran Masood lost election because of the rebel SP candidate. Congress workers are alleging that the SP targeted all the winning seats of the Congress. (IPA)

Sunday, 19 March, 2017