New Delhi: Over the past few days, the Congress has apparently been at loggerheads with Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party leadership. The all-out verbal duels came during campaigning for the ongoing Assembly polls in which SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati came down openly against the grand old party.
Angered by the failure of the INDIA bloc pact in Madhya Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav is understood to be preparing to field SP candidates from Rae Bareli and Amethi in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The two seats are considered Nehru-Gandhi family fiefdoms. The move comes after repeated attacks by Congress leaders on the SP chief during the Madhya Pradesh polls campaign.
From Rae Bareli, the SP is thinking of fielding Unchahar MLA Manoj Pandey and on the Amethi parliamentary seat Gauriganj MLA Rakesh Pratap Singh's name is being considered. It must be pointed out that the SP has been avoiding fielding candidates against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul on these two seats even when there was no alliance between these two parties.
While Congress' posturing with SP continued, BSP chief Mayawati had accused the grand old party of promoting a “fake video” and conspiring against her party during the ongoing campaign for Assembly polls. Mayawati’s remarks came ahead of voting in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh but may have national implications, sources pointed out. This has created issues in any future tie-ups of Congress with the regional outfit which draws its major strength from the Dalit community and is an electoral force in UP.
Uttar Pradesh is electorally the most important state in the country as it elects 80 MPs to the lower house of Parliament. The grand old party has been on the fringes, with it being only able to secure one or two Lok Sabha seats in the past couple of general elections. That too with the help of SP and BSP, which refuse to contest or provide weak candidates in the Nehru Gandhi family’s erstwhile bastions of Rae Bareli and Amethi.
Sources stated that the grand old party’s leaders would be foolish to think that the Congress stands any chance in the state without the help of SP and BSP. By annoying the top leadership of SP and BSP, the Congress is only expected to create hurdles for itself in the 2024 polls, sources said. The Congress leadership is delusional if it thinks that it can go alone in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, they added.
Uttar Pradesh has been electing the largest number of BJP MPs to the Lok Sabha in 2014 and 2019. And the party hopes for a similar strong show in 2024.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to seek a third term in 2024, the importance of Uttar Pradesh in the BJP's political numbers game has increased immensely.
The electorate in the state has wholeheartedly backed the duo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over the last four important polls in the state, two Lok Sabha and two state Assembly polls.
If the Congress hopes to stop the victory chariot of PM Modi, it needs to immediately address the rift with its INDIA bloc partners. The grand old party will have no chance if it continues to anger strong regional players for the whims of a few of its top leaders. It cannot afford to come to naught in Uttar Pradesh if it aspires to lead an INDIA bloc government at the Centre.