The Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh has announced a new team along with a new captain in the form of second term MLA from Tamkhuiraj on the eastern border of Uttar Pradesh, Ajay Kumar Lallu. This team with specified responsibilities is a direct effort of the general secretary in charge of UP, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
The BJP had announced a member of the Other Backward Classes community as the new state president in the form of Swatantra Dev Singh Patel while it continues to woo the Mauryas through their deputy chief minister, Keshav Prasad Maurya. The importance of Kurmis and OBCs like Mauryas in eastern UP cannot be emphasised enough as the last few election cycles have shown that more than any region, it is East UP that holds the key to Lucknow and New Delhi in this caste-complex state.
The Samajwadi Party supremo, former chief minister Akhilesh Singh Yadav, contested and won from Azamgarh with some help from the Congress party. The SP has been a Yadav-dominated OBC party that considers the Muslim vote as theirs in UP. The fact that an OBC member has now been appointed from both the national parties as their respective presidents will not be lost on the Yadav family from Mainpuri and Etawah.
The ground beneath the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party has been slowly shifting and eroding in the past three or four election cycles. The talk all over Uttar Pradesh is only of ED, the sword that hangs on Ms Mayawati, or Behenji, as she is popularly known, and her political sacrifices to save herself from all the cases against her and her family. She now has her family — her brother and nephew — comfortably placed within the party system but their electoral acceptance and vote gathering abilities have not been tested.
In this backdrop and the state elections of 2022 less than 30 months away, this new Congress team looks formidable with a combination of youth and experience, the varied castes given roles and responsibilities, dynastic-yet-very capable and hands-on leaders like Laliteshpati Tripathi and leaders who have worked their way up from the ground working together, and old Congress hands like new Congress Legislature Party leader Aradhana Mishra (daughter of Pramod Tiwari) and entrants into the Congress fold like Rakesh Sachan all combining their energies to make the Congress battle-ready.
The bugle may have been sounded for the large OBC vote bank by all parties but the electorate of Uttar Pradesh has shown time and again that they can throw a spanner in any party’s political strategy as they get ready to be wooed. With all this going on in the background, the Congress seems to have shown real intent and has thrown a strong challenge to everyone with this new-look team....