Udit discovers Hindutva
Dalit leader Udit Raj, who joined the BJP on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections after failing to gain an entry into Congress, has had a major change of heart. Once a bitter critic of Hindutva forces, his office wall is now adorned with the photographs of two hardcore Hindutva icons, Jana Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. Between the two photographs hangs the picture of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, who too was against Hindutva.
Congress neglects west UP
Resentment is brewing among Congress leaders from western Uttar Pradesh, as they have not found any place in any of the state committees of the party. The only exception is Imran Masood, but he has been included because he is a Muslim. The thinking in the district congress committees is that the Congress leadership has given up on western UP. All posts are going to eastern UP. Pramod Tiwari (Rajya Sabha member), P.L. Punia (chairman of the Scheduled Castes commission) and Sanjay Singh (Rajya Sabha member and chairman of UP campaign committee) belong to eastern UP. Even the new MLC, Deepak Singh is from Amethi in eastern UP, grumbled a west UP leader.
Watch out for Navprabhat
After making Sheila Dikhsit, a 78-year-old Brahmin the Chief Ministerial candidate for Uttar Pradesh, the Congress leadership is trying to woo the Brahmins of Uttarakhand, a state dominated by Brahmins and Rajputs. Navprabhat, the son of Brahmin leader Brahm Dutt, is being groomed to be the successor to the current Chief Minister, Harish Rawat. Navprabhat, an MLA, had joined hands with Vijay Bahuguna in the rebellion against Harish Rawat, but Ghulam Nabi Azad used his old friendship with Brahm Dutt to get in touch with Navprabhat. Navprabhat helped split the rebels and saved the Rawat government. He was made a minister soon after and was given the agriculture portfolio. Within three months he has been given the transport portfolio and then the charge of the CM’s office. He is supposed to keep an eye on the CMO as there are complaints of alleged corruption against Rawat’s office. His rapid promotions are indicative of the fact that he is now as powerful as the CM.
Tiwari, Prasada lobbying to be in Rahul’s committee
Pramod Tiwari and Jitin Prasada, Congress’ two well-known Brahmin leaders from Uttar Pradesh are lobbying for entry into one of Rahul Gandhi’s committees in Delhi whenever the organisational reshuffle takes place. Both were denied any positions in UP’s high profile committees. The competition between the two was visible at the Lucknow rally addressed by Rahul Gandhi last week. The rally was quite successful, with the two competing with each other to get as many buses as possible. Around 50 buses carried huge banners with photographs of Pramod Tiwari with Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. Around the same number of buses carried Jitin Prasada’s photographs with the Gandhis. However, Thakur leader Sanjay Singh too had brought a similar number of buses with his photos. But the competition was missing at Sonia Gandhi’s rally. Here too they brought buses loaded with people, but those huge banners with their names were missing.
Jaikishan is ‘missing’
Where is Jaikishan, Congress’ only Dalit voice in Delhi, the man who used to mobilise the Dalit community for the party? As the country is gripped with the issue of atrocities on Dalits, the Congress is quiet. It has sidelined Jaikishen ever since this five-time MLA lost the Delhi Assembly elections in 2013. K. Raju, the chairman of Congress’ SC-ST cell, has become inactive after not getting a Rajya Sabha seat. His department has not issued even a statement on the current controversies. If the Congress is seeking Dalit support in the Assembly elections of Punjab, UP and Gujarat, why is it stifling Jaikishan’s voice?
Demand rises for smaller states
The demand for smaller states is becoming a major issue in both BJP and Congress. Congress’ Vidarbha leaders are planning to meet Sonia Gandhi asking her to raise the demand for a separate Vidarbha. If the Congress high command does not agree to their demand, they may even walk out of the party. Similarly, the BJP, which is looking for an issue that will click with the voter, may make smaller states an issue in the Uttar Pradesh elections. The BJP’s UP leaders will hold a convention in Jhansi promising the creation of Bundelkhand. On this issue they hope to get Mayawati’s support as she has passed a resolution in the UP Assembly on the breaking up of the state into four states.
Mukul will return
Trinamool Congress MP Mukul Roy is all set for a comeback. The party will nominate him for the post of chairman in Parliament’s standing committee on transport, tourism and culture. Roy, a former Railway Minister, had fallen out of Mamata Banerjee’s favour for almost 11 months but patched up a month before the West Bengal Assembly elections this year. Dinesh Trivedi, who is the chairman of Parliament’s standing committee on railways, will be replaced by Sudip Bandyopadhyay.