Congress plans overhaul
The Congress will go for an organisational overhaul after the Assembly election results are declared. In Madhya Pradesh, where the Congress has become defunct because of the internal rivalries of Digvijaya Singh, Kamalnath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, there is pressure on the high command to give charge of the state unit to Ajay Singh. He is the son of the late Arjun Singh. But much will depend on whether these three allow him to take charge. Satyavrata Chaturvedi too is in the race. He will soon retire from the Rajya Sabha and will have time to concentrate on the state. He also has the stature to match the big three. In that case, Ajay Singh may be made the Congress Legislative Party leader in the MP Assembly. In Rajasthan, there is growing demand for making former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot the Pradesh Congress Committee chief because he alone can take on BJP CM Vasundhara Raje. In Haryana, the Congress is in a dilemma over removing Ashok Tanwar as PCC chief. It wants to make Kumari Selja, a Dalit, the PCC chief, but she does not get along with former Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda and the Congress cannot afford to alienate Hooda, as he is a Jat. In Maharashtra, the claimants to the post of PCC chief in place of Ashok Chavan are Narayan Rane, Balasaheb Thorat and Milind Deora. In Jharkhand, the entire state leadership has joined hands against the present PCC chief, Sukhdev Choudhury. In Bihar, the names of Manoj Yadav and Irfan Ansari are in the race to be PCC chief. Rahul Gandhi is said to be looking for either an upper caste or a Pasmanda (OBC) Muslim face for the post. The other names doing the rounds are of Avadesh Singh, a Rajput, Anil Sharma, the ex Bhumihar PCC chief, apart from Tanveer Akhtar and Shakeel-uz-Zaman Ansari. Akhtar is a Pasmanda Muslim. Ansari too is an OBC Muslim. However, Congress general secretary in charge of Bihar, C.P. Joshi wants one Akhilesgh Singh for the post. Singh joined the Congress recently.
Nitish’s help needed
It seems Ghulam Nabi Azad called up Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, requesting him to canvass for the SP-Congress alliance in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s non Yadav OBC constituencies, specifically in Kurmi dominated areas. Nitish Kumar is a Kurmi. If political analysts are to be believed, then non Yadav OBCs and EBC Hindu voters are consolidating in favour of the BJP, thus giving a major scare to the Congress and SP. Even the Muslims in this region are said to be going with Mayawati. Muslims in this region are mostly of Pasmandas, or OBC Muslims who identify with the Dalit and EBC communities who are basically BSP voters.
The race is on
Meera in race for President
Meera Kumar, the daughter of Jagjivan Ram, who was Speaker of the Lok Sabha during the government of Dr Manmohan Singh, is to be Narendra Modi government’s choice as the next President of India. Meera Kumar is a non Jatav Dalit. Jatavs are Mayawati’s voters, so Narendra Modi is eyeing the non Jatav Dalit voters. It seems the RSS wants someone from its ranks as President, but the Prime Minister wants someone from the outside. Meera Kumar’s is an ideal name because no one from either th NDA or the Opposition will dare question her selection because she is a Dalit. The Congress too cannot afford to oppose the daughter of Jagjivan Ram who was not allowed to become Prime Minister by the party just because he was a Dalit. Since then the Congress has been trying to put a Dalit in high office to get back its Dalit votes in northern India. The RSS too cannot afford to alienate the Dalits. Making a Dalit either President or Vice President will help the RSS get rid of its upper caste tag. But the RSS wants a Dalit who believes in its ideology. In this context, the names of Sonkar Shastri and Narendra Jadav are doing the rounds. Shastri has written a book on Dalits and Jadhav a book on B.R. Ambedkar. Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has already said that the next President should be elected with all party consensus and that JDU’s preference is Pranab Mukherjee.