Pramod Tiwari Congress' only option in UP?

By Rakesh Ranjan- 24 Aug 2021


New Delhi (23.08.2021): Experiments without following the required process never yield the desired results in science as much as in politics. This is what has come to hit the UP Congress. By putting Lallu (Ajay Kumar Lallu) at the helm of state affairs, the grand old party might have revealed its utter failure to feel the pulse of the people of the state.
It is known that UP has been churning new political equations for the last few decades. Congress opponents have been successful in their attempts to make their way into the Brahman vote bank, once the party's monopoly. Earlier, Mayawati succeeded followed by the BJP. The success of both BSP and BJP in gaining the confidence of Brahman voters is attributed to the absence of any tall Brahman leader in the state Congress.
It is pointed out that Pramod Tiwari could have, and still, minimized the Congress losses among the Brahman voters who are said to constitute 12% of voters in central UP. But for some reasons beyond comprehension he has always been cut to size.  
Plots against Tiwari first surfaced in 2013 when he was packed off to Rajya Sabha to apparently fill a vacancy arising in a by-election due to the disqualification of Rasheed Masood. Instead of letting him build the state party for which he is said to have been eminently qualified, the Congress made its state unit rudderless. That he wasn't the original choice for filling the RS vacancy was apparent. This is seen to have sent out a totally wrong signal at the time of extreme distress in the party. 
Why is Tiwari seen as a man who can manage the crisis the Congress Party is facing in the state?
For one, he is a grassroots leader. He has retained his assembly seat Rampur Khas for nine consecutive terms from 1980 onward. Whether it was Behenji wave or SP wave, nothing could dislodge him from his seat in the Pratapgarh district. At present his daughter Aradhana Mishra represents Rampur Khas constituency in the UP Assembly.
But instead of recognizing his strength, darbari politics of the Congress ensured to remove him in 2012 as the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader and replaced him with Pradeep Mathur, a three-term MLA from Mathura. And, in 2013, he was packed off to Delhi. This deprived Congress of a tall and grassroots Brahaman leader. The vacuum thus caused was adroitly exploited by the BJP.
Even as the BJP built up its forces, the Congress, in the absence of Pramod Tiwari, got it all wrong. It returned to its usual Muslim appeasement politics that was again fully exploited by the BJP to complete the process of Brahman alienation with the Congress Party. This process culminated in Rahul Gandhi running away from the family bastion of Amethi. 
Readers may recall that Pramod Tiwari has never lost an election. Such is his bonding with his voters of different denominations. In fact, he is credited with successively ensuring the victory of Congress candidate Ratna Singh from the Pratapgarh parliamentary constituency. But even she has got so much disenchanted with the Congress Party that she moved over to the BJP, more so because of the sidelining of Tiwari. 
As the 2022 UP election gets nearer by day and months, the only way for the Congress Party to rally its workers and supporters is to contest the election under the leadership of Pramod Tiwari, instead of importing characters or promoting little men with little courage and imagination to take on BJP and SP.
Despite Cong facing existential crisis it’s unlikely that it may bring back Pramod Tiwari to lead its campaign in UP because of the institutional memory of the party still sees him as a rebel who once sided with Narayan Dutt Tiwari in forming a parallel Congress party.
(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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