Influential sections in the Congress now not only want Priyanka Gandhi to grow to be the celebration’s face of Uttar Pradesh inside the 2017 meeting elections, as became lately stated within the media,however need the decision to be taken and announced earlier than may additionally 19.
this is the day on which the results of 4 meeting elections – within the states of West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala – might be declared. ought to the Congress perform poorly, a statement after that date that Priyanka Gandhi might be the party’s chief ministerial candidate in UP would be perceived as ameasure of its desperation.
What better manner to show its solve to revive the Congress in UP than to have a Nehru-Gandhi input thecompetition to end up chief minister of a state? this would indeed mark an intensive departure from thebeyond – the Gandhis are expected to play a role on the Centre, not in states. most effective the post ofprime minister is said to behoove them, no longer that of leader minister.
by using parachuting Priyanka into UP, the Gandhis would ship a signal that its younger technologyneither shies away from shouldering obligations nor from being put to test. it’d blunt the criticism that their privileges have come due to their lineage – and no longer due to the fact they were hard-earned.
bubbling with air of secrecy
Priyanka Gandhi’s different benefit is that her aura hasn’t waned. that is because her call is notsynonymous with defeat, as her brother Rahul Gandhi’s is. To send to him UP now could additionallysuggest a demotion for him, as he stands of the verge of turning into birthday celebration president.
The Congress assume-tank wants to rope in Priyanka Gandhi because it has veered around to the view that it’s far useless to try for an incremental boom in vote-share and seats. within the last UP assemblyelections of 2012, the Congress polled eleven.sixty three% of votes and bagged just 28 seats.
to show 28 seats into 50 indicates, the Congress suppose-tank believes, an improvement prettymeaningless for future purposes – it would now not send a message to the state that the birthday partyis in a position to take at the Bharatiya Janata birthday celebration in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
that is why the Congress desires to cast aside it normal caution in turning the 2017 UP meeting electioninto a excessive-stakes one, projecting it as referendum on the Modi authorities’s performance andwhether it should be voted back into strength in 2019. Priyanka Gandhi’s presence in UP could set thedegree for a showdown among the BJP and the Congress within the 2019 wellknown election.
To obtain this intention, the suppose-tank believes her candidature should be introduced now, as it mightenable them to construct a network to paintings upon the higher castes, principally Brahmins, to supportthe Congress. They think this will trigger the go back of Muslims to the celebration as nicely.
The election information of the Centre for the study of developing Societies display that the Congress’s calculation isn’t exactly a pipe-dream. within the 2009 Lok Sabha election, while the Congress amazedanyone to win 21 seats in UP, 31% of the nation’s Brahmins voted for the party. It was the very bestpercent of votes the Congress polled in any social institution.
alternatively, 19% of UP’s Brahmins voted the Congress within the 2007 meeting elections, whilst it wonsimply 22 seats. once again, it become the very best percentage of votes the birthday party polled in any social group. This figure slid to 13% in 2012, but Vaishyas voted in higher numbers for it than they did in 2007.
It makes experience for the Congress to woo the Brahmins and different upper castes. not like differentstates, the top castes comprise almost 20% of UP’s population, of which Brahmins include almost nine%.they are additionally preponderantly represented amongst opinion-makers, thereby giving them a clout a ways in excess of their numbers.
The Congress believes the Brahmins, as also other upper castes, are ripe for plucking. For one, highMinister Narendra Modi’s selection to woo the Dalits and OBCs has irked the top castes, Brahminsspecifically.
more than 70% of them voted the BJP in the closing Lok Sabha election, however are actually aggravatedthat their interests are being disregarded, as is evident from the selection to rent Keshav Prasad Maurya, an OBC, as country birthday party leader. further, Modi has an increasing number of taken to emphasising his OBC identity, as towards his earlier caste-impartial development time table.
no doubt, Modi nevertheless stays famous, but there was certainly a slide, inevitable for all people who has been in power for two years. for example, he will not have the ability inspire the UP voters to vote a nonentity as leader minister, as he did in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra in 2014 assembly elections.
regardless of whoever the BJP tasks as its leader ministerial candidate in UP, the Congress believes Priyanka Gandhi will outstrip her or him in popularity. For maximum top-caste citizens, Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj birthday party and Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi celebration are compulsions – no longer their desired choices. In this case, the upper castes may want to as well plumb for Priyanka Gandhi.
as soon as Brahmins ship a sign that they might be ready to return to the Congress, the Muslims of UPmight experience advocated to emulate them. As such, the country’s Muslims don’t vote for a party unlessit has one dominant Hindu caste that they sense might be relied upon to offer protection. additionally theytend to rally behind the party perceived to have the satisfactory risk to conquer the BJP.
regardless of no longer being in the sniffing distance of strength in UP, the Congress has continuallyattracted a giant percentage of the Muslim vote – 25% inside the 2009 Lok Sabha election, and 18% inside the 2012 meeting elections.
The state of affairs today appears conducive for the Congress to make overtures to Muslims. The networkbelieves, rightly or wrongly, that the ruling Yadav dispensation has did not weaken the BJP. 2nd, two years of the BJP gambling Hindutva politics has perhaps persuaded the Muslims that a strong Congress is requiredto grow to be a counterpoise to the BJP at the Centre.
have to the portions fall into vicinity, the Congress suppose-tank, believe they might additionally win it the votes of non-Jatav social corporations, together with Balmikis, who’re not enamoured of Mayawati aspreviously.
but calculations on paper frequently cross awry in real existence. as an instance, must Priyanka Gandhi step into UP, the BJP will virtually try to unearth credible proof in opposition to her husband, Robert Vadra, to show the allegation that laws had been bent to supply him extraordinarily priced land in Haryana and Rajasthan. nonetheless, the Congress believes her personal charisma will insulate her from a blowback.
Given the existential disaster plaguing the Congress, Priyanka Gandhi is certainly the first-class bet for the Congress in UP. It, without a doubt, has not anything to lose, for it may best sink from right here into oblivion. as soon as the selection to nominate her as leader ministerial candidate is eventually taken andintroduced, Uttar Pradesh will sizzle as by no means before.
Ajaz Ashraf is a journalist in Delhi. His novel, The Hour before sunrise, has as its backdrop the demolition of the Babri Masjid. it’s miles to be had in bookstores.