‘CONGRESS MUKT BHARAT’ NOW REGIONAL PARTIES’ AGENDA
Congress Mukth Bharat was the original slogan and agenda of BJP. In its seven years rule BJP could succeed partially in the achievement of that as Congress has still maintained its presence in some states through the benevolent regional parties where they gave Congress a junior partner status. However, with the recovery of the Congress turning out to be a mirage it is now regional parties which are in the forefront to eliminate Congress from the states where they call the shots. Barring Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Gujarat where the fight, as on today, is straight with BJP, the Congress party is solely dependent on regional players. Those regional party leaders having found Congress as not a worthy allay to offer seats, hence consolidate their regional influence thus squeezing out that old party. Since the pro-regional party electoral strategist Prashanth Kishore unwittingly confirmed the where the Congress problem lies and also confirmed the strength of ruling BJP the regional party leaders are likely to sharpen their stand against Congress thus pushing the influence further down. As the regional parties influence grow the isolation of the Congress becomes clear and the BJP dream of Congress Mukth Bharat is likely to fulfill through the courtesy of regional players.
The voices of AkhileshYadav, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, AravindKejriwal, H.D. Kumara Swamy, all once alleys of Congress, have shown their backs to Congress and now Lalu Prasad Yadav joined them with stinging comments on that party. Y.S. Jagan of Andhra Pradesh and KCR of Telangana are dead against at the recovery of Congress in their respective states and are employing all tricks to nullify that party’s influence including luring of Congress leaders. Barring Karnataka the Congress party is in existence in southern states on paper only. Which means that Congress is major contestant in the south hardly in ten LokSabha constituencies. In central, north and western India Congress may fight straight with BJP in about 100 seats and its strike rate of success is low in those seats. In whatever way the calculations are made the Congress is not in a position to improve its strength in LokSabha.
Perhaps because of this political perception, in the last two months’ time, the regional political parties chartered a new course and redrafted their script with sublime theme of ‘Congress Mukth Bharat’. It is now clear that the bonhomie that was there in the August meet of 19 parties under Sonia Gandhi leadership has evaporated.Party after party are announcing their reluctance to tow the Congress line of Rahul Gandhi as not only the party president but also the prime ministerial candidate to take on NarendraModi. Lack of confidence in Rahul Gandhi’s leadership coupled with their vision of great gains for regional parties is making them to expand at the expense of Congress. Some regional party leaders believe that like Mamata in Bengal they can give better fight to BJP in the states where are entrenched.
Perhaps that may be the reason for Lalu Prasad Yadav firing first salvo at Congress, rather than on CM Nitish Kumar, his main rival in the state, on his return to his home state after 3 years of incarceration.None expected such sting from Lalu, perceived firm supporter of Sonia Gandhi. LaluYadav questioned the usefulness of Congress as an ally by asking “why should we give one extra seat to Congress to lose even the deposit”. Congress’s counter that “Lalu is having a secret pact with BJP” has completed the split of the alliance. The telephonic call from Sonia Gandhi to Lalu after that was to keep the RJD-Congress alliance live butNitishKumar lead JUD cleverly threw itsnet in the troubled water by using the Dalit card to widen the schism between RJD and Congress. JDU accusedLaluYadavof showing his anti-Dalit mindset, Bihar Congress chief Das happens to be a Dalit, and to strengthen its argument JDU mentioned the boycott of recent President of India RamandhKovind’s visit to Bihar by TejaswiYadav. President of India is also a Dalit.
Mamata Banerjee and her TMC is more belligerent in its anti-Congress mood. “Congress seems to be busy dealing with its internal problems and we can’t wait eternally for Congress to take lead. We can’t sit idle so we are going ahead with our expansion plans” is what the TMC MP said. Mamata is not hiding her intention to poaching established Congress leaders. She had Congress leaders from Assam. Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Goa into TMC’s fold. The Bengal based party defended its admission of Congress leaders into its fold by quoting the Congress party admission ofKaniah Kumar from CPI. Mamata is now projecting not only herself as the challenger toNarendraModi but also TMCas the real Congress and appealing for all those Congressmen to join her. Other regional parties as of now seems to be believing the Mamata is a better bet than Rahul.
Southern regional parties like TRS, YSRCP, and AIADMK are now undeclared BJP allays and JDS is slowly leaning to BJP. AIMIM, the oldest allay of Congress is now a bitter critic of Sonia leadership thus leaning away Muslim support away from Congress.
The communist parties are name sake national parties while in reality they are worse than regional parties in their popularity. The CPM Kerala unit is not for an alliance with Congress as its aim to throw away Congress from that tiny state.
With such a massive regional anti-Congress feel and urge to throw out that party from their respective states may be the perceived Congress Mukth Bharat may turn out to be a reality even before 2024 LokSabha elections.
By Dr. Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao