By Rahil Nora Chopra
Credit for the Congress win in Karnataka as it wrested the state from the BJP is in order. Nods go to Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra for igniting and energising the cadre ahead of the Karnataka assembly elections, Siddaramaiah’s mass appeal, DK Shivakumar’s organisational skills, party president Mallikarjun Kharge’s leadership and AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala’s sincere efficiency. The much-needed victory relied on factors such as Congress’ decentralised its election campaign, reposed faith in state leaders, national leaders acting as mentors without imposing themselves on state actors. The Congress has been trying to prevail a social justice narrative for the party. It is Rahul Gandhi who endorsed caste-based census in Kolar. The Congress was uniquely placed in Karnataka with its three tall leaders representing the rainbow coalition of the backward castes. Siddaramaiah is a Kuruba, Mallikarjun Kharge a Dalit, and D K Shivakumar, a Vokkaliga. The appointment of Kharge as the party President and earlier appointing Charanjit Channi (a Dalit) as the Chief Minister of Punjab, is aimed at winning the confidence of the Dalit community. Siddaramaiah as the next chief minister of Karnataka, the Congress will now have three OBC leaders lined up as chief ministers (the other two are Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel). Meanwhile, KC Venugopal’s term has come to an end and Mallikarjun Kharge will soon appoint his new team. Surjewala could be in for an important assignment.
CONGRESS SETSELECTORAL EYE ON TELANGANA, WANTS PRIYANKA INVOLVED
After wresting Karnataka from the BJP, the Congress has now shifted its focus to Telangana. The state leadership of the party wants Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi to pay more visits to the state that will go to polls in six months. In this light, her successful meeting at Saroornagar on 9 May, the seat in Telangana that once sent her grandmother, the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, to the Parliament when she was going through hard times, assumes significance. Indira Gandhi won from the Medak Lok Sabha seat in 1980. Now, all the Telangana Congress leaders have only one request to Priyanka: visit Telangana often, as she carries the right and positive vibes. One section of the Congress leaders both in Delhi and Hyderabad feel that the party needs a face like Shivakumar to revive its glory in Telangana.
MAMATA, AKHILESH SEE MERIT IN BACKING CONGRESS POST KARNATAKA WIN
Opinion has shifted ever since Congress wrested Karnataka from the BJP, and for the better. Chief Minister of Bengal Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav have announced that they are ready to back the Congress in 2024 Lok Sabha polls in regions where the grand old party has a stronghold. However, Mamata also expects that Congress should support other regional political parties, too. Meanwhile, NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a meeting at Yashwantrao Chavan Centre in Mumbai on May 17 to discuss several issues of strategic planning for the next year’s Lok Sabha, and he said that it is time that the opposition parties must unite under a common minimum program. On the other hand, Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar is working hard and moving across the country to meet the opposition leaders of many states to unite them at one platform against the BJP. CM Nitish Kumar has held separate exclusive meetings with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, AAP CM Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav amid ongoing efforts to unite the opposition parties ahead of the 2024. The grapevine is rife that Akali Dal is planning to tie up with BJP and that the BJD will fight the Lok Sabha elections independently in 2024.
SECOND LEG OF BHARAT JODO YATRA FROM ARUNACHAL TO GUJARAT TO START SOON
According to sources, the Congress is planning another pan India yatra in September this year. The second leg of the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra, an East-to-West foot-march this time, is likely to initiate from Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh and will possibly end at Porbandar in Gujarat. The party is preparing a detailed route plan for the yatra. According to Congress sources, the walk will be focused on uniting and strengthening India, much like its first leg from Kanyakumari to Srinagar. The yatra would also seek to create public opinion against unemployment and inflation issues, and what the Congress claims as the “politics of hate and division and over-centralization of our political system”.
RIVALSBJP, SHIV SENA (UBT) CAMPAIGN FOR CRUCIAL BMC ELECTIONS
Ahead of the crucial Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president JP Nadda went on a two-day visit to Mumbai where he met several local leaders and party workers. During his visit at Kandivali for Panna Pramukh Sammelan, JP Nadda emphasized that in the upcoming BMC elections, the mayor must be elected from BJP. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray motivated his district unit chiefs to reach out to the people and ensure that the present mood of sympathy towards the party should be converted into votes in the coming elections. Thackeray launched ‘Mission Chavadi’ (a kind of small public meeting in rural areas to give information) for the next one month at the tehsil level to raise and spread awareness about the Supreme Court verdict and how it was actually against the Shinde-Fadnavis government. (IPA Service)