Congress eyes Dalit votes, favours Kharge contesting from Uttar Pradesh
Congress which has been reduced to a fringe player in the state’s electoral politics.
The apparent erosion of BSP’s influence over the Dalit vote bank in Uttar Pradesh has given certain confidence to Congress as the party thinks that it could fill the gap in the state. The UP Congress leaders want party’s national president Mallikarjun Kharge, who hails from the Dalit community to contest from a reserved seat in Uttar Pradesh in the next Lok Sabha elections.
Congress, which has been reduced to a fringe player in the state’s electoral politics, also hopes that the support of the Dalits and Muslims may help the party in its revival in the state and regain its past glory UP Congress sources said that the party wanted Kharge to contest from Etawah or Barabanki, both reserved constituencies, in the 2024 LS polls with the support of the Samajwadi Party (SP). Both
Congress and SP are part of the grand opposition alliance I.N.D.I.A (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) and are likely to contest the LS polls in alliance in UP. The state party unit felt that Kharge’s candidature could help galvanise the dalit voters in favour of the I.N.D.I.A and help the SP and other allies in the state.
Although newly appointed UP Congress president Ajai Rai did not comment on reports of Kharge’s likely candidature from a reserved constituency in UP, he did say that Mayawati’s influence on the dalits was ‘waning’ and also that his party was the ”natural choice” for them.
Rai cited the result of the recently held by-poll at Ghosi assembly seat, where the SP nominee defeated the BJP candidate by more than 42 thousand votes, and said that despite Mayawati’s call to the dalits to either press NOTA button or refrain from exercising their franchise, a little over 1700 votes were polled in NOTA’s favour. ”The dalits came out to vote in the Ghosi poll and supported the SP nominee which was evident in the sharp increase in his tally of votes,” said a state party leader.
Rai had earlier said that former Congress president Rahul Gandhi would contest from Amethi Lok Sabha seat in the next Parliamentary elections. ”Rahul Gandhi will contest from Amethi,” Rai had said in response to a query. Rahul, who represented the Amethi LS seat in 2009 and 2014, He lost to union minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani in the 2019 LS polls.
He had also said that Congress workers would put in all their energy to ensure a victory for party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra if she decided to contest from Varanasi LS seat, which was currently represented by prime minister Narendra Modi. ”We will ensure victory for Priyanka Gandhi wherever she chooses to contest from….every Congress worker will put all his energy in ensuring her victory if she decides to contest from Varanasi,” Rai had said.
Sources, however, said that Priyanka might contest from Raebareli in case former Congress president and her mother Sonia Gandhi, who currently was an MP from there, decided to opt out for health reasons.
Courtesy : DH
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