Congress busy chalking out Lok Sabha election strategy
The Congress has already started preparations for the Lok Sabha Elections, but this time, the party is not concentrating on all 543 seats but only 300. In almost half of the States, the Congress will fight along with its allies. A leader, who is a part of the Congress ‘war room’, says the party is not concentrating on big States like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It will neither woo its allies for seats nor put in more strength in fighting elections.
The Congress has also changed its strategy for some South Indian and N-E States. The party might forge alliances there to stop the BJP. In West Bengal, the Congress will either go with Mamata Banerjee or with the CPM. Sources say that the Congress is not even concentrating on Odisha; it will indirectly support the BJD and ensure that the votes are not divided in the triangular fight. In the same manner, the Congress and DMK will fight together in Tamil Nadu.
So, the Congress is focusing more on those States where it has to fight directly against the BJP. And thus, its priority States are Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. There are 163 Lok Sabha seats in these six States. In Maharashtra, the Congress will go along with the NCP, where it would fight on more seats. The Congress will fight on 140 seats in these six States. At present, the party has around 10 seats in these States, but this time, it is hopeful of a good performance.
Apart from this, the Congress will target Delhi and other Northern States, such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir. In all these States, the Congress had a strong mass base and it is in a position to put up a good fight. Possibly, the Congress will give some seats to the NC in Jammu and Kashmir, but it is certain that the party will fight alone on almost 40 seats. Apart from that, the Congress is targeting 25 seats of N-E States and 76 seats of Andhra, Telangana, Kerala, and Jharkhand. The Congress has decided to put its strength on 50 seats. On the remaining seats, there will either be an alliance or the Congress will fight symbolically.
In this manner, the Congress will put all its strength on 260 seats. Not only this, the Congress is hopeful that alliance partners in Bihar, UP, WB, and Tamil Nadu will leave at least 40 seats for the party. So, the Congress is gearing up to give a good fight on 300 seats.
The Congress President Rahul Gandhi will make changes in the party organisation after the Karnataka elections and also constitute the Congress Working Committee (CWC). Many leaders of the party feel that they would be ousted, so they are playing pressure politics and giving controversial statements. Statements on issues like ticket distribution in Karnataka, impeachment, and Muslims are being seen in this light. On the issue of impeachment, Salman Khurshid and Abhishek Manu Singhvi have caused controversies. Kapil Sibal, on the other hand, said that the leaders who were facing any kind of charges would be kept out of the impeachment process. Later, Khurshid gave a statement on riots, saying there was “blood on the Congress hands”. His statement was noticed and Rahul mentioned it in his Jan Aakrosh rally.
Former Congress General Secretary, Shakeel Ahmad, had also supported the statement of Khurshid. Before that, former CM of Karnataka, Veerappa Moily, had given a statement on the money involved in ticket distribution. Now, it will be worthwhile to see what roles they get in Rahul’s new team.
YATRA AFTER YATRA
Image-building exercises for the Congress are under way on many levels. Recently, Digvijaya Singh completed his 3,300-km Narmada Yatra, during which he walked on foot for six months with his wife. There was a political aspect of that religious yatra; he crossed almost 120 constituencies of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and revived his old connections. The Congress is hopeful of reaping huge benefits from his yatra.
There is no doubt that the Narmada Yatra is considered one of the toughest religious yatras. In the same manner, Mansarovar Yatra is also considered quite daunting. Recently, there was news that China had given permission to open the Nathu La route, which makes the Mansarovar Yatra a tad bit easier.
This must be noted that Rahul, at the Jan Aakrosh rally, had announced that he would undertake the Mansarovar Yatra after the Karnataka elections. A Shiv bhakta, Rahul said in the rally that he thought about the Mansarovar Yatra when his plane experienced a technical glitch while going to Karnataka. But many Congress leaders feel that the Mansarovar Yatra has been planned after the response to Digvijaya’s Narmada Yatra. With this yatra, Rahul can divert the media focus towards himself for two weeks at least.
NEEDED: A BIG DALIT FACE
These days, the BJP is said to be worried about Dalit politics. The party had thought that when Ram Nath Kovind would become the President of the country, it would give a positive message to Dalits. However, no big political implication is conspicuous. That is why the BJP had to put forward its alliance partners after the Supreme Court’s decision on the SC/ST Act.
In the name of Dalit face, the BJP has only Thawar Chand Gehlot, who is a Minister at the Centre and also a member of the Parliamentary Board. The BJP has given utmost importance to former officer Udit Raj also. Despite that, the party roped in Ram Vilas Paswan and Ramdas Athawale. That is why the BJP leaders feel that the party needs a prominent Dalit face.
But the problem is from where will the BJP get a Dalit face? It had never thought about this before. The Congress has many Dalit faces, such as Meira Kumar, Sushil Shinde, and Mukul Wasnik. Now, the Congress has made Jignesh Mevani a big leader. A BJP leader said the party must think about putting forward a Dalit face like Mevani. Only when a firebrand leader like him comes forward will the party benefit.
When the BJP came to power at the Centre, it followed in the footsteps of the Congress when it came to the appointment of Governors. The BJP sent its leaders and some officers to various Raj Bhawans. Three or four Governors appointed by the Congress were allowed to complete their tenure by the BJP Government. Now, many of them have given statements or done something which has caused controversies, creating an embarrassing situation for the Government. They include Banwarilal Purohit of Tamil Nadu, Kiran Bedi of Puducherry, ESL Narsimhan of Andhra Pradesh, Anandi Ben Patel of MP, and Tathagat Bhattachayra of Tripura.
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