By Rahil Nora Chopra
In a bid to woo women voters into its fold and consolidate its support base in Uttar Pradesh, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has declared that the party will be giving out 40 per cent of its tickets to women candidates in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, with a slogan that is already the talk of the town — “Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon” (I am a girl, I can fight). Encouraging women to come forward and step into the political arena, Priyanka said this move would ensure equal participation of women in Uttar Pradesh. “This decision is for the daughter of Chandoli, the daughter of Unnao, the daughter of Ramesh Chandra, the Valmiki daughter of Lucknow and for every woman of Uttar Pradesh who wants a change,” Priyanka said during a press conference in Lucknow. “These tickets will be given on the basis of merit, and not just on the basis of caste or religion,” she added.Priyanka said the party has extended the deadline for submission of applications for party tickets — it had ended on October 15 — only for women to November 15 so that they “can come forward and participate”. “If you want change, don’t wait,” she said. Other Congress leaders lauded the announcement, calling the move historic and unprecedented. Meanwhile, BSP chief Mayawati slammed the Congress decision, and described it as “a mere drama”. “When the Congress is in power and enjoys ache din (good days), it does not remember Dalits, OBC and women but when bure din (bad days) refuse to go away, it remembers women in UP, just like it is wooing Dalits in Punjab”, she said.
AKHILESH-LED SP FORMS CRUCIAL ALLIANCE WITH BSP FOR UP POLLS
In a significant political development, Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) president and former UP minister, Om Prakash Rajbhar, had an hour-long meeting with Samajwadi Party president, Akhilesh Yadav, on 20 October. Om Prakash Rajbhar announced that SBSP would form an alliance with the Samajwadi Party in the upcoming UP assembly elections in 2022, even if it does not get a single seat to contest. Confirming the alliance, the SP tweeted: “Samajwadi Party and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party will jointly fight for deprived, oppressed, backwards, women, Dalits, farmers, youth and other weaker sections. SP and SBSP have come together, BJP is wiped out in UP.”The SP claimed that the SBSP could improve its prospects in 150 seats, especially in the Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Devipatan and Azamgarh divisions. While the alliance with SBSP, the SP can now hope to change the perception that it has become a party of Muslims and Yadav’s. Earlier,it had support of non-Yadav OBCs, but that was lost over a period of time.
WILL UMESH KAU REJOIN CONGRESS AHEAD OF UTTARAKHAND POLLS?
Ahead of the Uttarakhand assembly election, BJP MLA Umesh Sharma Kau, whom the party reportedly managed to impede from joining the Congress with the promise of a plum post, is being keenly watched by political observers. Sources say Umesh has not taken any decision yet whether to join the Congress with the aid of former chief minister Harish Rawat, or leader of opposition, Pritam Singh. Furthermore, Umesh is worried about his constituency, Raipur, as within BJP there is a strong rumour that former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat may fight the assembly election from that seat. Umesh Sharma Kau is one of the nine Congress rebel MLAs, who had switched to the BJP in 2016 and close associate of former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna. According to sources, Umesh may still rejoin the Congress along with a few disgruntled MLAs, but the MLA has denied the rumours so far.
RJD TO MOUNT BIG LANTERN IN PATNA, JD(U) SAYS IT’S LED AGE
The Rashtriya Janata Dal is going to install a six-tonne lantern at the party’s state headquarters in Patna. The lantern has been the RJD’s long-term election symbol. The RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is expected to light it on his arrival from New Delhi. The lantern will stay lit round the clock. “The manner in which the power crisis has gripped the entire state, lanterns are the last hope of the poor people”, said Dr. Rajesh Ranjan, general secretary of the RJD’s youth wing. On the other hand, the ruling Janata Dal United (JDU) has taken potshots at the lantern, saying Bihar has advanced into the LED age, but the RJD wants to keep people in the era of lanterns.
FARMERS UNION UNFAZED BY CAPTAIN’S HINT AT JOINING BJP
With the announcement by former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh that he would launch his own political party and may ally with the BJP if the farmers protest is resolved, the Congress said that the party is not at all worried about his exit or his future political moves. While Congress high command took stock of the situation, AICC general secretary in-charge of the state, Harish Rawat, met former party president, Rahul Gandhi, and briefed him about the development. Harish Rawat said that the BJP which has been discredited in Punjab because of farm laws, wants a mask, while Amarinder Singh is looking for an excuse to join hands with the BJP, and is using the farmers’ protest for that. Meanwhile, the farmers union that has been protesting against the three agricultural laws for past 11 months, stated that back-channel talks with the centre were always an option, but added they would thank Captain if he mediates and gets their issues resolved in a mutually acceptable manner. (IPA Service)