By Rahil Nora Chopra
With Sonia Gandhi back in the saddle, will AICC treasurer Ahmed Patel return as her political secretary? For most of Sonia’s two-decade stint as the Congress president, Patel was the party’s master strategist operating from behind the scenes. Now Sonia is back as Congress president, partymen believe Patel could be back in form. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has filed his nomination for the upcoming RajyaSabha by-elections from Rajasthan. Leader of opposition in the state Assembly, Gulab Chand Kataria, stated that the BJP will not field a candidate. The by-election was necessitated by the death of RajyaSabha MP and BJP’s Rajasthan unit president Madan Lal Saini in June, which left one seat from the state vacant.
BJP GEARS UP FOR 2020 DELHI ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
BJP has started preparation for the up-coming Delhi assembly election and has appointed Union Minister Prakash Javadekar as the in-charge of Delhi assembly election, along with two Ministers — Hardeep Singh Puri and Nityanand Rai. Prakash Javadekar was the in-charge in Rajasthan during the Lok Sabha election and handled the organisational affairs and it was very well depicted from the results. And now the party believes that he is a relative outsider to Delhi politics and so he will deal well with the Delhi BJP unit. Hardeep Singh Puri is a natural choice for Delhi because he is a Sikh and also a Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs,who can tackle opponents on the issues of sealing, master plan and Metro issues. Regularisation of unauthorised colonies will be the major plank in Delhi Assembly elections and the BJP would want to show its achievement because of the work done by Hardeep Singh Puri on this issue. NityanandRai, a state minister for Home Affairs, will also use his influence over Purvanchali voters because his network in Bihar, he could be instrumental to influence the migrant voters in Delhi. Purvanchali dominate 20 assembly constituency of Delhi especially Karawal Nagar, Badli, Burari, Seemapuri, Gokalpuri, Vikaspuri, Dwarka, Uttam Nagar, Sangam Vihar, Deoli and Badarpur.
SAMAJWADI PARTY UNDER AKHILESH WITNESSES EXODUS TO BJP
After the LokSabha election, Samajwadi Party has been losing its grip on UP politics day by day. BJP has given a jolt to SP in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and again in the Assembly election of 2017. SP has lost badly even as theparty fought the 2017 election in alliance of Congress. Even Mulayam Singh Yadav was against the SP-Congress alliance at that time, but Akhilesh’s insistence ensured the alliance with Congress went ahead. In 2019 Lok Sabha election, SP had an alliance with BSP because both had won the three by-elections in UP just before the general election. However, uncle Shivpal Yadav helped the BJP and SP won only 5 seats in 2019 LS polls.On the other hand, the BSP won 10 seats in the Lok Sabha polls, although the party has no seats in 2014. Yet, despite the relative success in 2019, the BSP has blamed Akhilesh Yadav for the loss and Mayawati’s party has broken the alliance with SP in UP. In the Lok Sabha election, whereas the SP could not even save Firozabad, Badaun and Kannauj— their family seats — now the BJP has started luring away SP MLCs and Rajya Sabha members to their fold. In beginning, many MLCs left SP and joined the BJP and BJP Chief Minister and other ministers filled these vacant seats. After that those who resigned from SP have been again made MLCs by the BJP. In a fresh move, Neeraj Shekhar, son of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, has resigned from Rajya Sabha and the primary membership of Samajwadi Party to join the BJP. Subsequently, Surendra Singh Nagar of SP, a Rajya Sabha member, has joined BJP. Akhilesh Yadav has failed to convince the UP Governor Ram Naik for the nomination of Sanjay Seth as MLC and after that Akhilesh Yadav tried hard to convince his party leaders to send Sanjay Seth toRajya Sabha. Yet now, Sanjay Seth has left the party and Rajya Sabha to join the BJP.
MAMATA SOFTENS HER IMAGE TO WIN 2021 ASSEMBLY POLLS
After the loss of 18 Lok Sabha seats to BJP, Mamata Banerjee has taken the advice of Prashant Kishor and is now trying to change her image. Before the Lok Sabha election, her image was of a fighter and strong woman. But now she is trying to change her image into a soft-spoken and humble woman. With the advice of Prashant Kishor, she has instructed her leaders and workers to change their behaviour and not comment unnecessarily on every issue. She has asked her leaders and cadres to neither provoke the West Bengal Opposition leaders and their party workers, nor to interrupt or disturb the opposition rallies and programmes. She also advised the party workers to make contact with every citizen in her state to brief them of benefits of the work done by her government in West Bengal. Mamata Banerjee is evidently concerned about the upcoming municipal corporation and assembly elections in 2021. She wants to develop a corporate structure in West Bengal for the development and employment for the weaker sections of the state before the election. She has already started a network which has joined all the TMC district offices to the party headquarter so that she can stay in touch with every party worker in the state.
CAN SONIA ARREST THE GROWING SCHISM IN RAJASTHAN CONGRESS?
After the Karnataka episode where HD Kumaraswamy lost his government, rumours and pressure is building in Rajasthan as Congress government is running with the support of independent and BSP MLAs. There are 13 independent and 6 BSP MLAs in the Rajasthan Assembly. Most of the independent MLAs are former Congressmen and they are now pressuring Ashok Gehlot to include them in the State Cabinet. Although Ashok Gehlot has developed a rapport with them and taken decisions in the transfer cases after discussing it with the independent MLAs, the issue is becoming a cause of annoyance among the Congress MLAs. According to Congress MLAs, the Chief Minister is allotting the development works with the advice of independent MLAs and consequently he is not listening to his own party MLAs. Meanwhile, the BSP MLAs are ready to change their party if they are made ministers in Gehlot government. Senior Congress MLAs who were Ministers in previous governments have now started pressuring Ashok Gehlot to include them into the Cabinet or give them some honourable public post in the State. At present, there are two camps— one is Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s group, and second, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot’s camp. However, according to senior Congress leaders, now that Sonia Gandhi has taken over the presidentship of the party, the scenario in Rajasthan would soon be clear, and Ashok Gehlot would likely come out as a strong Chief Minister of Rajasthan. (IPA)