Cong hijacks Mulayam's voters, agenda in UP


The Congress’ revival, apparently at the expense of the SP and the BJP, to some extent, has forced the SP to ‘re-think’ and ‘re-shape’ its policies and strategies in the state.
In the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, the Congress made heavy inroads into the Muslim dominated SP strongholds especially in the western Uttar Pradesh.
Senior SP leaders admit that the party has a grim battle on its hands. “Unless urgent measures are taken, the party could face big reversals in the 2012 Assembly polls,” said a senior UP leader.

The Congress’ strategy to keep both the SP and the BSP at equal distance and even equating the two has only added to the SP’s woes as the party has extended unconditional support to the UPA at the Centre.
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi made it clear at Amethi recently that his party was ready to chart its own course.
“Congress is neither with the SP nor with the BSP. It is with the people,” Rahul said, tongue firmly in cheek.
If for SP supporting the Congress-led government at the Centre is a political compulsion, the workers at the grassroots level are unable to really appreciate the strategy. Any withdrawal of support to the Congress could send a wrong message among the Muslims as it would strengthen the communal forces, said an SP leader. “But the common workers don’t understand this,” he lamented.
“The workers are a bit confused. We
will have to adopt a clearcut and unambiguous strategy vis-a-vis Congress,” said newly
appointed UP SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who is also Mulayam’s son.

The recent spat between the Congress and BSP following UP Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s alleged derogatory remark against Mayawati and the arson at Rita’s house, also added to the woes of SP. The Congress, which declared a series of agitational programmes to protest the arson and to press for demand for a CBI probe, has threatened to occupy the opposition space in the state.

Marginalisation
Incidentally, Mayawati has also been targeting the Congress, as she thinks that the party could make a dent in her Dalit vote bank. As the Congress and the BSP take the centre stage in state politics, the SP fears being marginalised.

Whether it was the police lathi charge on Congress workers protesting power shortage at Amethi or opposition to the erection of statues and construction of parks and memorials after Dalit icons by Mayawati, it was the Congress, which stole the show.
A perturbed SP is now contemplating withdrawal of support to the UPA government and go it alone in the state. “There is no point supporting the UPA government as it treats us like an enemy,” said another SP leader.

SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has of late been targeting the Congress for the spiralling prices and accusing of it of not doing enough for the drought-hit UP. At a meeting of the party workers recently, Mulayam asked them take up the battle alone. In a bid to counter Rahul Gandhi’s efforts to woo the youth, Mulayam also declared that 40 per cent of party tickets would be given to the youth in the next Assembly polls.
He also took a swipe at Rahul’s frequent visits to the Dalit households, something which he had so far refrained from commenting upon.

According to SP leaders, the party might formally declare withdrawal of support to the UPA government at its national executive meeting scheduled to be held at Agra and chart its own course in UP.

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