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Rahul Gandhi, other Cong leaders to push caste card to win UP elections

Catch Team | Updated on: 29 July 2016, 10:45 IST
What happened
  • Rahul Gandhi was supposed to go on a 12-km long footmarch in UP along with other party leaders
  • The march has been cancelled for security reasons
  • The party is now preparing for the rally on Ambedkar Ground
Caste card
  • Congress is going to play the caste card to win UP
  • Sheila Dikshit as CM candidate represents the Brahmins while Raj Babbar is for the OBC

The Lucknow district administration has denied permission to Rahul Gandhi's proposed foot march on Friday, citing security concerns.

The Congress vice-president was scheduled to take out a 12-km-long march from the Uttar Pradesh capital's Ambedkar Ground to Raj Bhavan and hand over a memorandum to Governor Ram Naik on the prevailing situation in the state.

All senior party leaders from UP were slated to participate in the march.

Rahul will still visit Lucknow and address a rally of around 50,000 party workers at Ambedkar ground. This was slated to be Rahul Gandhi's first UP visit after a massive overhaul of the party.

The Chetna Yatra

A resurgent Congress, under the master campaign manager Prashant Kishor, is leaving no stone unturned for revival these days.

The recently concluded Chetna Yatra was one such initiative to perfect various caste equations in the state.

The Congress has always accused the SP and BSP of playing caste politics. Now, it is also working on the same formula. The leaders of all the prominent castes in UP were at the forefront of the Chetna Yatra.

The newly-appointed state president Raj Babbar presented these leaders as heroes amongst the masses.

They were introduced on the basis of their caste identities.

All the prominent party leaders, including Babbar and Ghulam Nabi Azad, accused BJP of dividing the state on communal lines at every public meeting during the yatra.

The Congress is keen to find a winning social engineering formula in the upcoming elections.

The declaration of Sheila Dikshit as its CM candidate was a step in the same direction. Raj Babbar is being projected as party's OBC face.

Prashant Kishor and his team are working overtime to crack the complex caste equations in the state and to make them work in the favour of the Congress. The seasoned Congressmen are also involved in the task. It remains to be seen whether their efforts would bear fruit.

Public meeting turned into a caste introduction session

All the Congress leaders participating in the Chetna Yatra were introduced to the public on the basis of their caste identity at the concluding meeting in Kanpur on Tuesday.

The state president took the lead in giving details of the castes background of all the leaders present on the stage.

PL Punia was hailed as a Dalit leader, who has struggled all his life for the Dalit cause. Special mention was made about the caste background of leaders like Rajaram Pal, Pramod Tiwari, Virendra Singh, Zafar Ali Naqvi.

Claiming that his party has given representation to all the sections of the society, Raj Babbar termed these leaders as flowers in the bouquet of the party.

Efforts to consolidate scattered voters

Rallying the support of all the influential castes is no easy task for the Congress. Party's traditional Brahmin vote bank has already shifted to other parties.

Party strategists are working overtime to win back the support of this segment.

According to former MP Rajaram Pal, "The only challenge before the party is to forge a winning caste combination. The party leaders are brainstorming on the strategy to woo various segments. We hope to devise an effective strategy in this regard before 2017 elections."

It was decided during the meeting that four big party leaders will organise rallies in different parts of the state.

The Kanpur district president Hariprakash Agnihotri told the media that Pramod Tiwari, Sanjay Singh, Ghulam Rasool and Zafar Ali Naqvi will address five major rallies in August.

Ghulam Rasool has been entrusted with the task of galvanising Muslim support for the party. Pramod Tiwari will organise rallies in Banda, Fatehpur and Hamirpur districts.

Similarly, Rajaram Pal is going to campaign in Mulayam Singh's bastion. He has already visited Mainpuri, Etawah, Kannauj and Farrukhabad during the last week.

Also read: Who will lead the Congress into UP2017? Uncertainty grips party

Also read: Uttar Pradesh polls: Desperate for a tie-up, Congress woos both BSP & SP

Also read: UP Congress leaders up in arms against "high-handed" Prashant Kishor

Also read: 5 reasons why the Congress is in a shambles in Uttar Pradesh

First published: 29 July 2016, 10:45 IST