Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Sheila the ‘Brahmin’ CM candidate? But is this not the latest to add in the list of fouls

NK Bhoopesh | June 16, 2016 6:54 pm Print
Congress seems to have found in Sheila Dixit their chief ministerial candidate for Uttar Pradesh, but like many other decisions of the party this is also fraught with lot of issues
Sheila Dikshit

Congress, now placed in the fourth slot in the UP politics seems to be mulling to project Sheila Dixit as its chief ministerial candidate. Lending credence to the speculations the former  Delhi chief minister has  met Sonia and Rahul Gandhi reports say.

Congress has been desperately scouting for a face in the UP after election strategist Prashanth Kishore impressed upon the party leadership to project a CM candidate.

He suggested Priyanka Gandhi. But the bottom line of his proposal was that if not Priyanka, party should at least have a Brahmin candidate. The party is yet to take a decision on a proposal that Priyanka should lead the campaign in the politically crucial state.

Priyanaka so far confined herself to campaigning for her mother and brother in Rai Berelli and Amethi respectively.

Sheila Dixit has an UP background since her father-in-law Uma Shanker Dixit was a prominent Congress leader from the state. And the party might be hoping that her record as the chief minister of Delhi for three consecutive terms will fetch votes in UP, where the party expects development to be the poll issue.

The official decision is yet to come. Even BJP has not decided whether to have a CM candidate before the polls.

But for Congress after a series setbacks, if the party is going with Sheila Dixit as CM that decision that  is likely to   strong evoke reactions from the Uttar Pradesh Congress committee.

One may find several logic in Kishor’s argument of having a Brahmin chief ministerial candidate.

The usual electoral allegiance of different caste groups might  be the basis of his argument.

Congress which has not been a serious player in UP politics for decades need to carve out a niche for them in this caste-ridden state. Congress in good times got its main support from upper caste Hindus and Muslims in UP.

After the arrival BJP, BSP and SP, its vote share among different caste group gradually dwindled.

Kishor, hoping to script the revival and possible comeback for Congress is looking to woo its original supporters, might have thought it would be easier to win over the upper caste votes by fielding a Brahmin CM candidate.

Since 90’s BJP has been getting more votes from upper castes in UP, while BSP gets a very large chunk of its votes from Dalits and Muslims and while SP’s main vote bank is OBCs.

By projecting a leader who has not had any ground support or organisational support in UP, what the Congress is hoping to achieve, that too in a triangular fight?

If Raj Nath Singh, a former chief minister of the state, is projected as CM candidate or if he leads the campaign, what communal shake up is Congress expecting to perform by fielding Sheila Dixit?

After the Delhi rout and her gubernatorial assignment in Kerala, she has not been active in politics barring some utterances against AAP government. Does a politician like really help the party? Answer in affirmative, is hard to come by.

Is this a continuation of blunders the party has been committing for some time now?

In Punjab, they appointed Kamal Nath, who is alleged to have a role in anti- Sikh riot, as the the general secretary in-charge, and reversed the decision after it sparked protests.

In Haryana, the party could not control its MLAs from cross voting. Same thing happened in UP too.

In Assam, the party could not prevail upon Himanta Biswa Sharma not to cross over to BJP. His role in BJP’s victory in last month’s assembly election was however acknowledged by the BJP.

In these times of crisis, Congress seems to be busy taking decision that is detrimental to its political existence or relevance.

And reports emanating from AICC headquarters suggest more such things can be expecting.

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