In a bid to reframe the politics of social justice before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has brought the OBC question to the forefront of national discourse by maintaining a sharp focus on it during his speech on the Women’s Reservation Bill in the special session of Parliament. While asserting that a “caste census would ensure participation of OBCs, Dalits, tribals and women”, Rahul Gandhi said his party would conduct a rigorous exercise if it was voted to power. “Caste census has to be conducted if we want to give participation to Other Backward Classes, Dalits, tribals and women. If [Prime Minister Narendra] Modiji does not conduct a caste census, then when we are elected to power our first step will be to conduct a caste census to ensure OBC participation,” Rahul Gandhi said in Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur, where he was addressing the State government’s Awas Nyay Sammelan in Parsada village. Rahul further said that the PM “doesn’t want to make caste census data public”. However, Congress had tried to turn its focus on to caste census and which the party keeps faith that it can unite the Other Backward Castes (OBC), SC, ST and minorities voters in its favour.
CONGRESS, SP AT ODDS OVER UP SEAT-SHARING IN 2024 LOK SABHA POLLS
Ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls, communication between Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh seems to be facing barriers over seat-sharing. Both parties are part of the grand opposition alliance I.N.D.I.A (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance). According to sources, SP was adamant not to leave more than 10 constituencies for the Congress in the state in the next general elections, but Congress, on the other hand, wanted 2009 as the basis of seat-sharing. In the 2009 LS polls, Congress had won 21 seats in the state on its own. The SP was not ready to agree to the demand as posited by the Congress Akhilesh Yadav said a few days back that his party would not ask the I.N.D.I.A alliance to give seats to it. ”Instead we will give seats to the alliance partners,” he had remarked, boldly pointing clearly as to who the boss in UP was. Reacting over the SP president’s strategy over seat sharing, Congress state president Ajay Rai said, “Congress is capable enough to contest all 80 seats on its own”. However SP leaders asserted that the party would also have to leave some seats for the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar and Apna Dal (Krishna Patel). Meanwhile, SP has a complete focus on improving its 2022 tally with the goal of enhancing its image and chances to turn itself into a national entity from its image and role of a regional giant.
COMMUNAL SLUR IN PARLIAMENT: SOUTH DELHI MP BIDHURI REWARDED BY BJP
Although the South Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri was seen on national television hurling communal slurs and abuse at Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Danish Ali in the Lok Sabha on the last day of the special session of Parliament, BJP ignoring the incident has appointed Bidhuri as the leader in charge of its affairs in the Tonk district of poll-bound Rajasthan. Tonk has four Assembly constituencies, a sizable Muslim population, as well as a big Gujjar population, and BJP expect Bidhuri to swing the votes for it. While Bidhuri also posted on X(formerly Twitter) that he attended a coordination meeting for the Tonk district held in Jaipur, that was chaired by State BJP president C P Joshi. On the other hand, the Opposition has slammed the BJP. Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal took to X and wrote, “BJP rewards “hate” Bidhuri rewarded for attacking Danish Ali (BSP) for the unspeakable words he used in the Special Session of Parliament Made BJP incharge of Tonk District in Rajasthan, Muslim population in Tonk 29.25% Symbolises “hate” for political dividends!” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh, in an X post, said, “Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas’ ”yeh sab hai inka bakwaas.” Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra also slammed the BJP and said Bidhuri had been “rewarded” for his remarks against a Muslim MP. “How does a showcaused person be given a new role by BJP? Narendra Modi ji, is this your Sneha Yatra for minorities, your love outreach?” she said on X.
EYE ON POLLS, CM GEHLOT ON 9-DAY WELFARE TOUR OF RAJASTHAN DISTRICTS
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot embarked on a nine-day-long journey to 18 districts under the Mission 2030 campaign on September 27 with exclusive goal of strengthening the public welfare schemes launched by the Congress government during the last few months. Gehlot took a dig at the BJP stating that as and when the BJP has come to power, it has always closed down schemes as implemented by the Congress government. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should guarantee that the Congress government’s schemes will not be discontinued if the BJP comes to power in the state. While Ashok Gehlot will stop at 50 locations enroute and engage with people and seek their invaluable visionary insights into the mission as initiative, and successfully which aims to propel Rajasthan among the top development states of India by 2030.The state government has collected 7.4 million suggestions through its Jan Kalyan App, doorstep surveys by the Congress party’s community volunteers, using a toll-free phone number, and organizing essay competitions to understand the aspirations of the people. The journey will cover Shekhawati, Marwar and Mewar regions ahead of the State Assembly election.
NO CM FACE? BJP FINDS IT TOUGH TO PUT HOUSE IN ORDER IN RAJASTHAN
The BJP is facing a tough battle to revive back power in Rajasthan as the state unit is faction-ridden. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda will take care to set the party’s house in order after reports emerged of its recent Jan Aakrosh Yatra rallies drawing thin crowds. Shah and Nadda had discussions with the party’s Rajasthan leadership on the upcoming state Assembly election, amid a buzz that many central ministers might be asked to contest. According to BJP sources, Shah and Nadda first held a meeting with former CM Vasundhara Raje. After this, the two proceeded to meet senior leaders and discussed constituencies and election strategy. Union minister and party’s election in-charge for Rajasthan Pralhad Joshi, co-in-charge Nitin Patel, party’s in-charge for Rajasthan Arun Singh, state president CP Joshi, Union ministers Gajendra Singh, Arjun Meghwal, Kailash Chaudhary, leader of opposition Rajendra Rathore, and deputy leader of opposition and former state president Satish Poonia were among those present in the meeting. At the meeting, the party leadership framed a firm decision as not to project a CM face in the state during campaigning, and instead go with a combined leadership approach. This strategic move seems to be an attempt to keep regional leaders’ ambitions and rivalries in check, and reinforce the party above individual. Prominent leaders, including former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, leader of opposition in the assembly Rajendra Rathore, former Rajasthan unit chief Satish Poonia, may figure on the first candidates list. (IPA Service)