Nora Chopra

Priyanka Gandhi, who has emerged as a major player in the Congress Party, is tipped to be a general secretary of the A-ICC after the Uttar Pradesh elections are over. Though Priyanka has been playing her role covertly till now and had been reluctant to come out and take on responsibility openly as this would not have sent the right signal for her brother’s performance. But now she has been forced to play an open role in the party. Her mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi has decided to retire and she is not participating in the party‘s crucial activity. This  apart, there is a feeling in the party that there is need for her to help Rahul. Priyanka has been playing a backroom part in the party for quite some time. But her role in the recent deal with the Samajwadi Party going against Rahul’s idea of going alone in the UP elections, has already made her a star leader of the Congress Party. She  is said to have got certain internal surveys done on the basis of which she ensured that the Congress should not go alone in the polls and thus insisted that the party aligns with the Samajwadi Party.  When the ‘man with a midas touch’ Ghulam Nabi Azadi failed in his negotiations with the SP leaders, then it was her intervention that brokered the alliance with the SP. It was at her residence that Akhilesh and Dimple came over to meet Rahul after he returned from his sojourn abroad. That was the beginning of the talks of alliance between the two parties. In fact, the Janvedna sammelan against the demonetisation is said to be her idea. She might not have been visible there but her presence was felt there as she had monitored the entire preparation. In fact the speech, about which Rahul is receiving all the praises, was said to have been written by her. Priyanka is the latest speech writer of Rahul.  


No party is likely to get a clear majority in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. It is going to be a hung assembly, say the internal surveys done by both the BJP and the Congress. The BJP had won 73 seats in 2014 Lok Sabha elections out of the total of 80, but it has failed to give a CM face in the absence of credibility and caste factor. The brahmins have been the BJP‘s support base. in UP but ever since Narendra Modi and Amit Shah took charge of the saffron party, they have been focusing more on the OBCs and the dalits thus giving rise to disillusionment within the brahmin community. On the other hand, the rank and file of the BJP is extremely upset over the party giving more tickets to outsiders than the BJP cadres. Besides, this time the party has not spared any seat for Anupriya Patel’s Apna Dal. Thus the kurmi community is unlikely to vote for BJP as Anupriya  may not campaign for the BJP. It is being seen that the BJP  will end up much short of majority. 


The coming together of the Congress and the SP has given some boost to the staggering fortunes of the former  but it is still not seen as a party that can get a comfortable majority. First, the Mahabharat in the Yadav Parivar is feared to have its toll on the prospects of Akhilesh’s  candidates. Shivpal Yadav who has been feeling totally ditched by brother Mulayam and nephew Akhilesh, is not sitting quiet. It was Shivpal who is known as the vote getter in Mulayam’s party but his isolation in the party has left him totally disillusioned. Though he is contesting the elections on the SP ticket but his followers and friends who have been denied tickets have joined the BSP in the recently.The latest being Mukhtar Ansari. BSP supremo too has expressed her sympathies with Shivpal. As a result there could be a division in the SP votes, particularly Muslim votes. Mayawati has given nearly hundred tickets to Muslims but their first target is only the BJP and they would vote for the candidate who can defeat the BJP. The Muslims would do only tactical voting. In west UP where there are elections in the first phase, the SP is unlikely to get the votes of the Muslims who constitute a big chunk. There is absence of the SP’s core voters- the yadavs in the entire region of Saharanpur to Agra that constitutes the basic belt of west UP. In west UP, the BSP may fare better, given Mayawati’s thrust on Muslim and Dalit votes. Ajit Singh’s RLD is likely to do well  this time round in this jat dominated region, although a sizeable section of the jats had preferred the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. It is seen as a mistake on the part of Akhilesh not forming a grand alliance including RLD just on the belief that Congress alone would be able to consolidate the Muslim votes in west UP.   (IPA)

Sunday, 29 January, 2017