Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state will be going to polls next year but the political activities have already picked up in the state. The most talked about parties in the state are SP, BSP and BJP. Congress party is nowhere in the ‘race for power’ in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. The last time when Congress was in power in Uttar Pradesh was in 1989. Since then Congress has been out of power in UP.
The Congress party’s decision to make former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as its CM candidate in Uttar Pradesh has received numerous different responses. While some say the party has already accepted its defeat, others think this might prove to be the masterstroke by the party’s strategic team. Sheila has had a long association with UP. Quite rightly, she is being called as ‘UP ki bahu’. Dikshit’s husband hailed from Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh and her father-in-law Uma Shankar Dikshit had been a Union Cabinet minister and a known face in UP.
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The UP Congress is very discouraged and stalled. Congress is not only competing with a strong BJP, BSP and the ruling party but it also has to settle its own battle. This is Congress’s fight for survival. In a situation like this where there is hardly any prominent face in the party’s UP politics, Sheila Dikshit may be the best one to bet on. Sonia Gandhi’s trust on Sheila is not new. In times of distress she has always banked upon Sheila.
Election strategist Prashant Kishor had recommended that Sheila Dikshit should play a big role in the party’s poll campaign in UP. Sheila has been made the CM candidate because the party is eyeing 11 % Brahmin voters which affect about 125 seats in the state. The majority of them are with the BJP and the BSP.
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Sanjay Sing Thakur has been made party’s campaign committee chief and is expected to help consolidate the 8 % Thakur votes in the state.
Raj Babbar, who basically comes in OBC category, has been appointed the Uttar Pradesh Congress president. His appointment can be seen as an appeasement to 39% OBC voters in the state.
Ghulam Nabi Azad has been appointed Congress UP in-charge and by this party wants to get the 18 % Muslim vote in its favor.
That the Congress brough back Sheila Dikshit from retirement and made her CM candidate straightaway, that boosts Imran Masood, of ‘chopping up Modi into little pieces’ fame, and that it chooses Raj Babbar, who may draw crowds but has never been associated with any idea of the Congress, as its state chief, clearly manifest — that the party is bankrupt of ideas, left with zero options and is fighting for its survival in the Uttar Pradesh politics.
Congress is trying its best to keep itself in the news by making announcements at regular intervals. First it appointed Raj Babbar as the UP chief, gave important post to Imran Masood, now it has named Sheila Dikshit as the chief ministerial candidate and at a later stage, it will reveal Priyanka Gandhi’s role in the UP assembly polls.
Can Sheila Dikshit’s calling herself ‘UP ki bahu’ really help the Congress party? Will the ‘Brahmin’ factor help the party? Will everything go as per the plans of Election strategist Prashant Kishor? Will propping up Imran Masood get muslim votes or will it backfire? Will ‘UP ki bahu’ conquer her ‘Sasural’?
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