Anna Tonic Doing Miracles In Favour Of Congress In UP
After a long time, there is good news for the Congress party. The beating which Congress got at the hands of Anna Hazare, has had a dramatic impact on Uttar Pradesh and has turned the tables for the Congress party.
According to the latest opinion poll commissioned by the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, in the post-Anna Hazare episode, the Congress is all set to emerge as the single largest party in the state assembly elections next year with a 12 per cent swing in favour of the Congress taking the total tally to 174 seats, within striking distance of forming the government in Uttar Pradesh.
The survey says this is the result of a huge Muslim consolidation behind the Congress party in the wake of strengthening perceptions that Anna Hazare and before that Baba Ramdev were mukhotas of the BJP and the RSS and that the entire movement was being undertaken with the backing of the RSS leadership and its cadres spread throughout the country. A detailed inventory of the response generated by Hazare in the various states reveals the startling information that the movement against corruption took root in mostly those states where the RSS is active. In other states like West Bengal, Kerala, north-east etc where the RSS has no presence, the Hazare fast failed to generate any following.
The survey also says that apart from the Congress the BJP is also set to gain in the UP elections with a 2 per cent swing in favour of the saffron party taking its tally to 89 seats. The BJP is looking to bring in the Brahmins back into the fold, along with a section of the Thakurs, the Kurmis and the Lodh to make itself once again relevant in Hindi heartland’s biggest state.
The Samajwadi party is set to lose seats and would be down to 62 seats while the biggest setback is for Mayawati’s BSP which will be down to 58 seats after a 12 per cent swing against the ruling party in UP. The others are at 10 while a Muslim dal in UP will also get some seats.
The Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav has been unable to shake off the tag of a party which has let criminals and anti-social elements rule the roost and where goondas had become part of the political lexicon. Mulayam Singh Yadav has been unable to shake off this image and public memory does not appear to have forgiven him.
Just last year, when the Congress had commissioned a similar survey in UP, the scenario was completely reversed. That showed the Congress putting up one of its worst performances and Mayawati doing exceedingly well, getting her own majority and increasing her seats also. At that time the Muslims and Brahmins were still backing her, with the law and order situation looking good, and Mayawati giving a violence free government and a good administration.
But Anna Hazare appears to have come like a magical pill for the Congress party.
In terms of caste equations, 30 per cent of the Kurmis are backing the Congress while 70 per cent are still with the BJP. The Banias continue to back the BJP and along with this a section of the Brahmins have shifted back to the BJP though a section is also backing Congress. The same is the situation with the Rajputs who are backing both the BJP and Congress depending on the influential candidates put up by both the parties.
The results of the survey conducted by AC Nielson came almost a week ago with the Congress including the Anna Hazare episode in its survey to gauge the reaction and how the people are reacting. Sources in the party say top leaders are shocked at the results and how a Muslim polarization has brought the Congress back in the reckoning in UP. For Rahul Gandhi who has been touring UP intensively and toiling hard to find a breakthrough in caste-ridden Uttar Pradesh, this is possibly the best news in a long time.
The slogans of Vande Mataram in Anna Hazare’s meetings, the information that the bulk of the media was being directly managed from the residence of LK Advani, the anger in major Mulsim seminaries of Darul-Uloom, Bareilly, Lucknow and others at the manner in which the RSS-BJP was using Anna Hazare to gain political mileage are all points which are under discussion amongst the Muslim community and the opinion makers amongst its leaders, according to the findings of the survey. The fact that the Kasais of UP who control almost Rs 33,000 crore of meat export business in UP and who were with Mayawati earlier but have now shifted away from her. They were big sources of funds for the Chief Minister apart from the support of the community.
Sources say Congress, having already released a list of 70 candidates in UP, is continuing with its decision to select candidates early so as to give them enough time to campaign and find their feet in the state.
A senior leader said that after the results of the survey, there is a new energy in Congress with leaders likely to spend more time in UP, putting their house back in order.
If the results of the survey actually translate into real time votes, it will change the entire complex of Congress politics and would be a slap for Rahul critics and baiters who have been saying that his brand of politics has had no impact. After the party’s excellent showing in the Lok Sabha elections getting 22 seats, the morale was high but over the last two years it has again dipped though Rahul Gandhi has continued to extensively travel and campaign.
A good showing in UP would establish the politics and authority of Rahul Gandhi, which had taken a big beating after the Bihar performance which can at best be described as disastrous. It would also catapult him onto the centre stage of mainstream politics with the party showcasing him as a leader who can deliver. In the scenario of Sonia Gandhi’s not-so-good-health, it could just be the tonic Congress party is eyeing for.
By Renu Mittal