BJP transformed itself into OBC party
A striking feature of the Uttar Pradesh elections was how the “upper caste” BJP converted itself into an OBC party under Narendra Modi. Also how the Congress won fewer seats than the Apna Dal. The BJP gave 11 tickets to Apna Dal, out of which the latter won nine seats. The Congress got a hundred plus tickets from the Samajwadi Party, but won only seven seats. Out of these seven MLAs, three are now ready to move to the BJP. If that happens, the Congress will be left with just two MLAs. The Modi-Shah duo also successfully enticed the non Yadav OBCs and non Jatav Dalits to their fold, thus reducing Mayawati to a zero. It is up to Mayawati now how she retrieves her Dalit votes and whether she will enter into any alliance to counter the BJP. Meanwhile, while the Congress vice president was holidaying abroad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started working on his “New India” agenda for 2019. According to government data, 2019 will have 1 crore 68 lakh new voters. The PM has instructed all his MPs to woo Class 12 students, because they will cast their votes for the first time in 2019.
Jitin may get UPCC charge
Jitin Prasada is likely to be the new Pradesh Congress Committee chief of Uttar Pradesh. UP is on the priority list of the Congress and in its bid to counter the BJP in 2019, the leadership is planning to overhaul the UPCC. Current PCC chief, Raj Babbar wants to quit from his post. The Congress seems to have suddenly woken up to the report by A.K. Antony, where he warned the party against too much Muslim appeasement. So the Congress is now searching for a young Brahmin face to take charge in UP. In the long queue of aspirants, the frontrunners are Jitin Prasada, Pramod Tiwari and even Rajiv Shukla. But Rahul does not like Pramod Tiwari. Rajiv Shukla may get Priyanka’s backing, but his good relationship with the BJP will pose a problem. Insiders say that the leadership has zeroed in on Prasada, who is young and belongs to a well-known Brahmin family of UP. His father was Congress’ Jitendra Prasada.
Congress’ Dalits unhappy
Discontent is simmering within the Dalit leadership of the Congress against the Rahul Gandhi appointee K. Raju, the chief of the Dalit cell of the AICC, and P.L. Punia, the erstwhile head of the SC-ST Commission. They are wondering why Rahul backed K. Raju, an ex IAS officer, and P.L. Punia as Dalit leaders of the party, when they do not have any political base of their own. They are wondering why Delhi’s Dalit leader Jaikishan, who has a mass base, was ignored by Rahul. He is the only leader who can collect a crowd of 500-1,000 Dalit leaders by just making one phone call. But Jaikishan is a victim of Congress’ infighting. The Congress will now have to accommodate him somewhere, as it cannot afford to lose him.
Kamal Nath wants to go to MP
The emergence of Captain Amarinder Singh as a strong leader who could defeat the Akali-BJP is giving ideas to other Congress leaders. Kamal Nath, who despite being an AICC general secretary, has never stepped into 24 Akbar Road, is trying to become Pradesh Congress Committee chief of Madhya Pradesh. Kamal Nath has been consistently winning Lok Sabha elections from Chhindwara in MP. While there is a demand that Digvijaya Singh should be sent to MP as PCC chief, Kamal Nath is lobbying his own candidature. The general perception is that Kamal Nath will be a better choice than Singh.
Diggy goofed in Goa
Digvijaya Singh landed in Panjim to help Congress form the government in Goa, and sent a request to Governor Mridula Sinha for an appointment. But there was no consensus in the Congress on who would be leader. The first appointment with the Governor was scheduled for 1 pm, which was rescheduled to 2 pm and then 3 pm. Singh realised that the ground was slipping from under the Congress’ feet when Goa Forward Party leader, Vijay Sardesai did not return his call. Even Churchill Alemao of the NCP started getting restless and indicated to his bosses that he could not wait any further and had no option but to support the BJP. Realising that he had lost, Digvijaya Singh sent a letter seeking an appointment with the Governor, but that did not have the name of the leader. The next day, the BJP paraded its MLAs before the Governor to prove it had the strength to form government.