The biggest question trending out of the circumstances is, which path will the Dalits go? Will they turn to BSP or vote for the SP alliance or vote for Congress or BJP? Dalit votes also get bi-furcated on the basis of sub-caste. For example Jatav, Pasi, Valmiki. Although it is believed that more than 55 percent of the votes come from the Jatav community and this Jatav community has always been with Mayawati and her party BSP but due to Mayawati’s lack of political movement and activities .Dalits are looking for a better alternative and they might vote for SP alliance, Congress or Bhim army party. But in the last assembly elections, Dalits had voted for BJP in large numbers but this time they are complaining about the economic distress caused by high inflation, unemployment, and the plight of agricultural labourers and farmers. The community that accounts for 21% of the voting population in UP and they are going to have a big effect on the state’s election results.
Political observers feel that Mayawati continues to rely heavily on the consolidation of Jatav sub-caste which accounts for around 55% of the total Dalit population. Experts said that Dalits had earlier been supportive of Congress until BSP emerged as a political force under the leadership of its founder Kanshi Ram in early 1990s. In this assembly election SP has tried to match BJP overtures by poaching non-Yadav backward leaders, including the three ex-UP ministers Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan and Dharam Singh Saini. Experts said that Akhilesh has attempted to remake his party’s earlier image of being an outfit of Yadavs and Muslims. There is a belief in the party that inducting leaders from the more/most backward classes may bring Dalits closer to SP. While Akhilesh Yadav exhorted the Samajwadis and Ambedkarwadis to come together to throw away the Yogi Adityanath government in UP. However Bhim army chief Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan is working hard to fight for the rights of the Dalits and to grab the base of BSP in the coming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. On the other hand the BJP has been trying to woo Dalit voters for a long and it succeeded in winning them over in Uttar Pradesh in sizable numbers at least in the last three consecutive elections. But if the party manages to garner the support of Jatav voters with the help of Maurya, it will really be a big achievement for the BJP. On the other hand ever since Priyanka took charge of Congress in UP, the party has been all-out efforts to woo Dalits who had been staunch supporters of it in the past.
PRESSURE IS BEING PUT ON PRIYANKA GANDHI TO CONTEST IN ASSEMBLY POLL
Pressure is mounted on Congress from several quarters that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra should contest election from Amethi as her candidature will definitely put an impact on places like Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh and Sultanpur. Once considered as the Gandhi family bastion and it is an attempt by Congress to reclaim their lost stronghold. In the 2019 Parliamentary polls, Union Minister SmritiIrani defeated Rahul Gandhi thus forcing the former Congress president to look southwards for his onward political journey. Ever since then, the grand old party has been nursing a desire to win back the seat in the next round of Lok Sabha polls. In 2017, the indications of the Gandhis losing their grip over this safe seat was provided when the Congress was unable to win even a single Assembly segment. Even in adjoining Rae Bareilly barring one seat, the Congress had lost everything else. Therefore, the decisive and indicative test for Congress this time would be to improve their showing in this prestigious region.
CONGRESS LEADERS VERTICALLY SPLIT ON AZAD ACCEPTING PADMA AWARD
The BJP government’s decision to confer Padma Bhushan on veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has once again brought the divide in the Congress. Many of the Group 23 leaders came out congratulating Azad. Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal took at official line Congress leaders critical of Azad accepting the award. He said it was ironic that the Congress does not need his services when the nation recognises his contributions to public life. Kapil Sibal, also a part of the G-23, tweeted, “Ghulam Nabi Azad conferred Padam Bhushan. Congratulations bhaijan.” Another G-23 leader Shashi Tharoor also congratulated Ghulam Nabi Azad. The other signatories of the letter congratulated Azad on Twitter. Manish Tewari and Anand Sharma said it was a well deserved recognition. However, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had on Tuesday taken a veiled dig at Mr Azad who was conferred with the award. “Right thing to do. He wants to be Azad not Ghulam,” Mr Ramesh said on Twitter after former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya declined the Padma award. While Senior Congress leader Ashwani Kumar hit out at Ramesh and he said “Congress Rajya Sabha Whip’s criticism of Ghulam Nabi Azad for receiving the Padma award is nothing less than a shameful innuendo intended to rob both the award and its recipient of the deserved dignity. Such a mindset does not do justice to the dignitarian ethos of the Congress.’’ The Congress’s silence and Ramesh’s swipe has not gone well within the party.
RAJNATH SINGH’S SON PANKAJ FACING A TOUGH FIGHT AT NOIDA ASSEMBLY SEAT
The three corner fight is quite evident in Noida assembly seat BJP’s Pankaj Singh son of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is the sitting MLA from Noida. He has won the previous election with a margin of more than 1 Lakh votes against the SP’s candidate Sunil Chaudhary. Chaudhary is the SP candidate this election too. This time Pankaj has a tough fight with the Congress and SP candidate. The Congress has fielded Pankhuri Pathak, who has entered the fray through some aggressive local campaign. At 29 Pathak is one of the youngest candidates in the fray. Pankhuri got into student politics while in Delhi University, joining the SamajwadiChatraSabha, the Samajwadi Party’s youth wing. She went on to become the state spokesperson for the SP but quit three years ago following difference within the party and joined the Congress. With nearly 70% urban and 30% rural votes, one of the most prominent election issues here is related to homebuyers, ranging from delayed possession of flats to problem faced by housing societies. In fact unemployment and price rise is also the issue in Noida. With several voters in Noida acknowledge that while the BJP remains a dominating presence here but Congress and SP candidate are giving a tough fight this time.
KARNATAKA CHIEF MINISTER BASAVARAJ BOMMAI IS READYING FOR CABINET CHANGES
Ahead of the 2023 Karnataka assembly elections, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is under pressure to carry out a Cabinet reshuffle to make room for fresh faces, and also to fill up the vacant posts of heads for various boards and corporations, by appointing party legislators and office-bearers to it. There are currently 30 Ministers in the State Cabinet, including the Chief Minister, against the sanctioned strength of 34. There are talks in party circles that the expansion or reshuffle of the cabinet is likely, only after the Assembly elections in five states. Speculations are rife that the party top brass has lost confidence over the loss of BJP in the recent local body polls and by-elections. Loss of the party in CM Bommai’s own constituency Hangal in Haveri district has added to the worries and concerns of the party. (IPA Service)