By Nora Chopra
As the campaign in Punjab is going in full swing for the assembly elections early next year, the senior Congress leaders are yet to zero in on the Chief Minister’ name in the event of the Congress reaching the position of forming the government. Captain Amarinder Singh is spearheading the Congress campaign and as of now, he is in the driver’s seat. But the Congress leadership is considering the possibility of opting for a Hindu CM since the Hindus form the solid base of the Congress and with a Hindu CM, this base can be expanded further. If that happens, te young Congress leader Manish Tiwari might be the choice. He has good support base in Punjab and he is articulate. But all this can take place only with the approval of Amarinder Singh. He is working very hard and the Congress leadership will take the final decision only with his approval.
SONIA GANDHI’S ILLNESS DEMORALISES SENIOR CONGRESS LEADERS
Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s illness has demoralized the senior Congress leaders who want her to be at the helm for some more tie. A veteran Congress Rajya Sabha MP said that he is very worried at the state of the Party since Rahul is not yet ready for the job. According to these senior leaders, there is not a single leader in the Congress who can carry the Party unitedly as Soniaji is doing. Some of these senior leaders however feel that Priyanka will be much effective in te Congress Party since she has got that charisma and leadership qualities. The drubbing of the Congress in the recent municipal and panchayat elections in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat have brought in disillusionment among the senior leaders. Rahul Gandhi is failing in rejuvenating the Congress, they feel and they are finding the future of the Congress Party any rosy.
PARTIES ARE EYING ON 18 PER CENT MUSLIM VOTES IN UTTAR PRADESH POLL
The battle in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections next year, is all about the 18 per cent Muslim votes. All the contesting parties- Samajwadi Party, BSP, the Congress and the BJP are monitoring the mood among the Muslim voters. BJP is interested in getting Muslim votes vertically split so that it helps the saffron party. The BJP is depending on Hindu votes but if the Muslims resort to bulk voting in favoured SP or BSP, it will dampen BJP’s prospects.BSP that way is placed advantageously. With its base of 21 per cent dalit votes, BSP is making all efforts to bring back Muslims from SP to BSP and BSP supremo Mayawati has made a number of moves to lure the Muslim voters.BJP which depends on the traders and the business community as its support base, has been affected by the anger of the traders at demonetization since their trading activities have been adversely affected due to cash crunch.BJP leaders are assessing the impact and BSP is capitalizing on this. Congress is still to revive itself and the Muslims who like Congress, do not think the Congress as an alternative to BJP but if there is an understanding between the SP and the Congress, the Muslims will shift to this alliance in full. (IPA)