NEW DELHI: After a long wait, the Congress has appointed its state head and regional heads to lead its cadre in Uttar Pradesh. However, subsequently, several opinions have emerged. Political analysts as well as senior party leaders say the new appointments are the product of bad advice. Senior leaders allege the new chief is the rubber stamp of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s advisor Sandeep Singh, whose consultation has failed to lift the party’s fortunes. “Due to his inabilities, the UP cadre is reaching new lows every day. For the first time, we reached the lowest of around 2% vote share in the last Assembly elections and the decline continues,” a senior Congress office bearer said. A political analyst said, “The Congress has given its top position to a Dalit (Brijlal Khabri) in the state, expecting they could woo them. But there are much bigger parties like BJP, SP and BSP in the state who all have Dalit presidents. Moreover, Dalits will remain with Mayawati and BJP.” He added, “If they had made a Muslim president, it would have sent a message among Muslims and a considerable chunk of SP and BSP voter base would have shifted to the grand old party. Also, the Muslim voters across the country would have received it well that the Congress has appointed a Muslim chief in Uttar Pradesh, eventually helping them increase their Muslim voters nationwide.” A party leader who has spent most of his years in Congress said, “If Sandeep gets removed, it will be good for Congress. He does not have calibre, so how can he choose a person better than himself? Appointing a chief is a job beyond his abilities. Thus, there will be no churning in the party.”
Muslims had once been a strong support base of the Congress. However, with the Congress’ decline in the state over a period of time, Muslims started to shift to the BSP and SP. A recent survey conducted after the 2022 Assembly elections saw Muslims en masse voting for SP. It was assessed that 79% votes went to SP and more than 8% votes were garnered by the BJP. A big chunk out of remaining 13% votes were retained by the BSP. Moreover, out of the 75 districts in UP, 20 districts have Muslim population over 20%. In addition to this, Muslim vote is a determining factor in 34 out of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies and in 130 out of 403 Assembly constituencies. UP minority department in-charge Bharat Jodo Yatra, Syed Shakir Ali, told The Sunday Guardian, “Minorities will stand with the Congress in Lok Sabha elections, provided they see that the party exists somewhere. The party is less visible on the ground. Though Muslims are ready to come, where will they come? There should be a destination, there should be an address. Not only minorities, but most secular people want to vote for the Congress.”