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Can Congress have a chance in UP amid growing divide between SP and BSP?

By IndianMandarins- 06 Jun 2019


The falling apart of SP-BSP alliance in UP is definitely going to vacate quite a bit of political space in the electorally most significant province. So the big question is -- who is going to fill the void being created by the split between two regional satraps like former Chief Ministers Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav?


The two other important political forces in the State are the BJP and Congress. The first is as deeply entrenched throughout the State as the second is down and out for past many years through most of the vast and verdant Indo-Gangetic basin. In other words the BJP is too overgrown and Congress is slimmer than ever before despite UP once having been its stronghold.


So this is the time for Congress to ponder over how it lost ground in what was its bastion right through the freedom struggle to the better part of independent India’s history and look forward to make a beginning to reclaim UP.


Congressmen often bemoan that communal and caste tides brought by Mandal and Kamandal swept them off their feet. But the question is whether this is going to remain so three decades after Mandal stir and Mandir-Masjid row or the reverse tides of the past may soon start giving way to a fatigue.


The last can well be the case if Congress comes out of its comatose state following its defeat in last two months Lok Sabha polls and start paying heed to what some of the party well wishers are trying to say on social media and in private conversations about UP that faces economic stagnation and huge unemployment dogging youth.


Dr Udit Raj is a former IRS official-turned-political activist who became an MP from Delhi in 2014. He tweeted on Wednesday, June 5, calling upon Dalits to bury their love for BSP and rally behind Congress so as to save their rights. He castigated BSP chief Mayawati for blaming SP for Akhilesh’s inability to transfer his party’s votes to BSP candidates in Lok Sabha polls by asking how her party could get 10 seats this time after drawing a nil in 2014.


Another former officer from Indian Engineering Service (IES) and a Dalit rights activist Ashok Bharti blamed Mayawati in his one of the tweets for breaking Bahujan, or masses, unity by calling off the BSP-SP alliance. His tweet says, “Alliance and friendship rest on the principle of supporting each other in the time of crisis. If Bahenji @Mayawati has decided to go alone for the sake of 11 seats in UP, she will lose sympathy of OBCs, who have closely watched and appreciated her move in 2019 LS elections.”


These are early indications after this year’s Lok Sabha polls that caste equations in UP are cracking up where Congress can well step in to repair and mend them. The party can well attempt now to bring back social cohesion.


Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi had indicated in February this year while making her debut in UP politics that her party’s target was 2022 State Assembly polls. But there are going to be 11 Assembly by-polls in a few months time where Congress may well test waters to lay foundations of an alternative politics that cuts across caste and communal divide afflicting UP for decades.


The party can easily select a few out of the 11 seats and put right candidates as a small step to mark its presence on the political map of UP by fully backing up the candidates.

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